Brokers flout Fair Housing laws with impunity

When it comes to many matters relating to real estate, the Big Apple often lags the rest of the country.

One prime example discussed on this blog concerns the continuing resistance, especially by the biggest brokerages, to a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) even while reluctantly accepting VOWs (Virtual Online Web sites).

Another example involves the strictures of the Fair Housing Act, along with other anti-discrimination legislation on the municipal, state and and federal levels.

Such measures protect certain “classes” of consumers–for instance, by the source of their income, marital status, age, race and sexual orientation.  (In D.C., sellers may not discriminate by what is called matriculation, that is, against students.)  The list of protected classes can rise into the high teens.

Well schooled about the subtleties of the law when I was affiliated with Long & Foster Real Estate in D.C., I was astonished to see how flagrantly the provisions of the law were violated with impunity by brokers here in New York City. Continue reading

In a co-op board interview, you can skate around the way your dog surely will snap at. . . children

Flickr photo by Revolt! Puppy

BrickUnderground recently asked me to list how to answer tricky questions during a co-op board interview.  Examples:

The board asks you to describe the dog you adopted from a shelter years ago, a snappish Chow mix Continue reading

Rabbits in photos may not be gay, Times warns

Photo by Jeff Koons for the New York Times

In today’s Sunday magazine, the New York Times has outdone itself in a piece titled “The Love That Dare Not Squawk Its Name.”  The subtitle provides helpful amplification: “Inside the science of same-sex animal pairings.”

It’s not the article that stopped me in my tracks, but the minuscule text under the credit for the photographs.  It reads in part:

No assumptions should be made about the animals’ sexual preference based on their appearance in this portfolio.

I’m not kidding, and I doubt that the Times is.  Perhaps the magazine is engaging in ironic humor, but it is hard to believe that Old Gray Lady would do that.

The editors really seem to be worried that the rabbits and Chinese silkie chicks shown above, plus the cats, sheep, roosters and butterflies in the photos would sue them if readers think they are gay.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If the editors concerns were not so offensive, they might be laughable. I, for one, am not laughing.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
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NAR ethics code now includes sexual orientation

The late George Segal created this sculpture, installed in Sheridan Square, Greenwich Village. A tea party, it is not. Wallyg photo.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) added sexual orientation to its equal opportunity policy at its recent annual governance meeting.

The Board of Directors passed the measure unanimously, according to Realty Times.

The organization’s Code of Ethics generally has reflected the Fair Housing Act, saying that its members “shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” Continue reading