Brooklyn Boro

Compass Realty reaches agreement with attorney general’s office

November 2, 2022 Rob Abruzzese
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Compass Realty, which has offices all over Brooklyn, reached an agreement with Letitia James and the attorney general’s office after it was found that the company refused to process rental applications for low-income renters.

The Attorney General’s Office announced the settlement on Tuesday after it found that Compass’ real estate agents had been refusing to process rental applications for people with Section 8 vouchers, a violation of NY’s tenant protection laws.

“Landlords and brokers who deny housing to tenants because of their source of income are exacerbating the housing crisis,” said Attorney General James. “No tenant should be turned away from an apartment because they have a housing voucher. This agreement will ensure that Compass does not close its door on New Yorkers who are simply looking for a place to call home.”

As part of the agreement, there are no major fines, and no one will be fired or go to jail. Instead, Compass Realty will have to waive broker fees for only 25 people with Section 8 vouchers. Compass will also have to update its employee training and post a sign in their office.

Compass Realty has approximately 5,000 listings in Brooklyn alone, according to its website.

Section 8 vouchers are provided mostly to senior citizens, disabled persons on fixed incomes, displaced families and homeless people with disabilities. The vouchers act similarly to cash for landlords, but often they are wary to accept renters who use them.

The AG’s Office got a tip from the Housing Rights Initiative in December 2021 and opened its investigation into Compass. Compass agents allegedly told investigators that property owners would not accept the vouchers that landlords are legally required to accept.

“Today’s settlement with one of the largest real estate companies is an important step to ending widespread housing discrimination and protecting vulnerable tenants in New York,” said Aaron Carr, Founder and Executive Director of Housing Rights Initiative. “Denying housing to tenants just because they have a housing voucher is not only illegal, but also inhumane.”

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