A black girl has sued a number one actual property firm and 35 of its realtors for discrimination after allegedly failing to assist her discover low revenue housing.
Shaniqua Newkirk filed the lawsuit in a New York Metropolis federal courtroom final month in opposition to Douglas Elliman and its brokers over claims they violated discrimination legal guidelines within the Honest Housing Act.
She despatched emails to the posh realtors in June 2021 requesting assist to seek out Part 8 housing, which is a federal authorities voucher program that helps poor households, the aged or the disabled afford housing within the non-public market.
However Newkirk claims the brokers both failed to reply or didn’t present enough assist.
She claims Douglas Elliman realtor Madeline Hult Elghanayan advised her: ‘I solely focus on luxurious actual property transactions’ whereas others didn’t know what a Part 8 housing voucher was.
Douglas Elliman strenuously denied the allegations in an announcement that stated: ‘We shall be difficult the deserves of those predatory and baseless claims.’
A black girl has sued a number one actual property firm and its realtors together with Noble Black (left) and Holly Parker (proper) for discrimination after allegedly failing to assist her discover low revenue housing
Shaniqua Newkirk claims Douglas Elliman realtor Madeline Hult Elghanayan (pictured) advised her ‘I solely focus on luxurious actual property transactions’ whereas others didn’t know what a Part 8 housing voucher was
Newkirk filed the lawsuit in a New York Metropolis federal courtroom final month in opposition to property firm Douglas Elliman and its actual property brokers over claims they violated discrimination legal guidelines within the Honest Housing Act
Newkirk stated when she tried to seek out brokers to assist her use her Part 8 voucher in spring however drew a clean.
She then discovered an inventory of New York Metropolis’s most profitable brokers and brokers who she contacted for help.
Nonetheless, ‘Newkirk was unable to safe various housing previous to the expiration of her voucher,’ in line with the lawsuit.
It added that she was ‘pressured to stay in a decrepit rodent and vermin-infested house’.
The lawsuit lists Douglas Elliman brokers Noble Black, Holly Parker, Frances Katzen, Lauren Muss, Elana Schoppmann, Diane Johnson, Eleonora Srugo, Ann Cutbill Lenane and Janna Raskopf as those that failed to assist Newkirk.
Elghanayan and Jennifer Kalish in addition to former workers Tamir Shemesh and Tal and Oren Alexander had been additionally named within the swimsuit.
In one of many messages included within the grievance, Elghanayan advised Newkirk: ‘I solely focus on luxurious actual property transactions and don’t even know what sec 8 means..’
Fellow realtor Johnson requested her: ‘I actually don’t know what Sec 8 voucher is?’
Whereas Kalish stated: ‘At this second I don’t have any landlords or homeowners which can be accepting Part 8. However I’ll maintain you in thoughts if something involves thoughts.’
The swimsuit additionally claims Douglas Elliman is in violation of metropolis legal guidelines which require it to ‘prominently and conspicuously’ show a hyperlink to the Honest Housing and Anti-Discrimination discover on its web site.
‘Solely on the very finish of the homepage in tiny font beneath the heading of State Disclosures is a hyperlink to the Honest Housing and Anti-Discrimination Discover,’ it states.
‘Defendants are extra involved with their luxurious model than they’re with following the regulation.’
‘I principally was named for not responding to an electronic mail,’ realtor Srugo advised The Actual Deal. ‘And after I search my inbox, I don’t have any report of ever receiving it.’
Paperwork submitted by Newkirk present she despatched emails her on June 14 and June 15, 2021 however obtained no response.
The lawsuit lists Douglas Elliman agent Frances Katzen (left) and Elana Schoppmann (proper) as amongst those that failed to assist Newkirk
Newkirk despatched emails to Douglas Elliman realtors in June 2021 requesting assist to seek out Part 8 housing, which is a federal authorities voucher program that helps poor households, the aged or the disabled afford housing within the non-public market.
Actual property brokers who didn’t reply embrace Douglas Elliman workers Jane Powers, Neal Sroka, Joshua Lieberman, Rachel Medalie, Elena Sarkissian, Katzen, Muss, Bruce Erhmann and Eileen Hsu.
Former realtors Sarah Burke, who now works for Compass, and the Alexander brothers, who left to begin their very own firm known as Official, had been additionally listed as not replying.
One other Cybele Kadagian, who now works with Sotheby’s, supplied to assist Newkirk however she didn’t reply to her electronic mail.
She wrote: ‘Sure, landlords do settle for Part 8. I don’t presently have any of those apts. What are you keen to spend and what space?’
Shemesh, who left for Nest Seekers, stated: ‘After all we’re keen to assist. What number of bedrooms are you in search of and the way a lot are you seeking to spend?’
Newkirk highlighted that she was in search of a one-bedroom flat and her voucher was for as much as $1,705 monthly however the agent didn’t reply to that electronic mail or a observe up.
She additionally requested Parker if she had any residences that will tackle Part 8 vouchers however Parker responded: ‘I’m sorry however I don’t have entry to these.’
Jason Walker, Emily Sertic and Andrew Azoulay, who works at Bespoke, advised Newkirk they didn’t have any listings that had been accepting vouchers.
Lenane advised her: ‘I want that I might assist you however I do know that Part 8 housing proper now it’s so arduous to seek out and I by no means take care of it in any respect however good luck together with your search.’
Licensed Douglas Elliman brokers Kari Kaplan, Wendy E. Sanders, Lauren Litt, Jaqueline Teplitzky, Andrew Anderson and Suzan Kremer are additionally listed as defendants within the lawsuit.
Firm executives together with common counsel Kenneth Haber, Lengthy Island CEO Ann Conroy and government vp of residential leasing Hal D. Gavzie are additionally named within the lawsuit.
‘Douglas Elliman has a zero tolerance coverage in the direction of unfair and unlawful therapy of any particular person or group,’ a spokesman for Douglas Elliman stated.
‘We satisfaction ourselves on our necessary agent coaching program that’s inclusive of rigorous honest housing regulation training.’
Former workers Tamir Shemesh, who left for Nest Seekers, was named within the swimsuit and initially responded to Newkirk however didn’t reply to a different electronic mail or a observe up, in line with the lawsuit
Realtor Lauren Muss is listed as one of many brokers who didn’t reply to Newkirk’s inquiry
Oren and Tal Alexander, who left to begin their very own firm known as Official, are stated to haven’t responded to Newkirk
Douglas Elliman denied the allegations in an announcement and stated: ‘We shall be difficult the deserves of those predatory and baseless claims’
Craig Gurian, an legal professional who focuses on honest housing, stated violations are judged on whether or not the brokers reply to an individual the identical manner they usually would with one other shopper.
Realtors who advised Newkirk they didn’t have residences which qualify for Part 8 or stated they didn’t work in that sector may very well be discovered responsible of a violation for not referring her to a colleague who does.
Those that didn’t reply is also discovered to have violated honest housing legal guidelines whether it is discovered they might reply to different shopper inquiries.
Douglas Elliman was beforehand named in an investigation on honest housing violations on Lengthy Island.
A report in 2019 outlined pervasive discrimination in opposition to folks of colour who posed as property consumers. It triggered a state probe the place 67 brokers and executives had been issued with subpoenas.
A number of the instances in opposition to brokers didn’t maintain up however the state handed laws in 2020 which allowed the federal government to remove actual property licenses for discrimination.
New York Metropolis’s Division of Housing Preservation and Improvement revealed in March that it’ll spend $3.1million to stop source-of-income discrimination.
That is the place homeowners or brokers flip tenants away for eager to pay with vouchers or different help.
Dailymail.com has contacted Douglas Elliman and Newkirk’s legal professional Steven Siegel for remark.