Fair Housing Laws and Brokers’ Defamation Suits: The New York Experience

The New York Law Against Discrimination, originally enacted in 1945 to eliminate discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin, has been steadily broadened to encompass discrimination in such areas as public accommodations and private housing. The law was amended in 1961 and 1963 to enable the State Commission for Human Rights to prevent. discrimination by either the owner or the real estate broker in the selling, renting, or leasing of any housing accommodation or commercial space. Despite the apparently broad protection established by the sweeping language of the statute, real estate brokers have discovered a novel response that could render these fair housing provisions impotent in their practical application.