Keller Williams, EXp Realty, Others Sued Over Alleged Discrimination

The brand new lawsuit claims {that a} host of big-name actual property corporations, in addition to numerous landlords, refused to just accept Part 8 vouchers for lower-income renters.

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Quite a few main actual property manufacturers together with Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, eXp Realty and others are dealing with a brand new lawsuit alleging they discriminated in opposition to lower-income renters in New Jersey.

The Housing Rights Initiative (HRI), a housing advocacy and watchdog nonprofit filed the go well with Wednesday. The go well with claims {that a} group of landlords and actual property brokers refused to lease models to potential tenants in New Jersey who use government-provided Part 8 housing vouchers.

“They did so in violation of state regulation, whilst Jersey Metropolis and Newark face a housing disaster and the continued ravages of the worldwide pandemic,” the grievance reads.

Information of the go well with was first reported by the New Jersey Monitor.

The go well with finally names as defendants 26 completely different landlords and actual property corporations. Nicely-known manufacturers amongst these defendants embrace Keller Williams Realty, eXp Realty, Century 21 Actual Property, Coldwell Banker Realty and RE/MAX.

Inman has reached out to those manufacturers and can replace this story with any commentary they supply.

The grievance explains that the case has its origins in 2017 when the HRI started receiving reviews of discrimination in New Jersey. The group subsequently started doing “civil rights testing,” based on the grievance, which concerned calling housing suppliers to see in the event that they had been obeying honest housing legal guidelines.

Many allegedly weren’t.

“In lots of situations, their investigation revealed a coverage or apply of successfully refusing to just accept vouchers, which prompted HRI to take steps to handle such violations of the regulation,” the grievance reads.

It goes on to element a number of events by which an HRI consultant referred to as about leases in Newark and Jersey Metropolis however was instructed that the homeowners didn’t settle for Part 8 housing vouchers. The calls reportedly happened between 2021 and 2023.

The grievance describes the conduct of the landlords and brokers as unlawful discrimination that contributes to “socioeconomic segregation in New Jersey.”

“Defendants’ discriminatory insurance policies end in a considerable lower within the stock of protected and inexpensive housing obtainable to low-income tenants,” the grievance provides.

The brand new go well with — which was filed in New Jersey’s Superior Court docket — comes amid a long-running reckoning in the actual property business with discrimination. Discriminatory practices equivalent to redlining have plagued the business for many years, however the matter took on extra urgency after a 2019 investigation uncovered widespread discrimination amongst brokers on Lengthy Island.

Within the time since, a gradual stream of discrimination fits has made headlines. For instance in 2021, a New York regulation agency sued Keller Williams, EXIT Realty and dozens of different companies for alleged rental discrimination. That case was additionally based mostly on an HRI investigation.

And final yr, Redfin settled a case over alleged “digital redlining.”

Quite a few business leaders, together with Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, have additionally turn into more and more outspoken about the necessity to fight housing discrimination.

Within the case of the newest lawsuit out of New Jersey, the HRI is asking the courtroom to cease the defendants from discriminating in opposition to voucher customers and to award the HRI unspecified financial damages.

Chatting with the New Jersey Monitor, HRI govt director Aaron Carr stated that the defendants within the case “unequivocally broke the regulation,” and referred to as simply motion “insupportable.”

“We’re attempting,” Carr added, “to get actual property corporations to desert their discriminatory practices and to observe the rattling regulation.”

Electronic mail Jim Dalrymple II

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