New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a settlement with Coldwell Banker over alleged discrimination against homebuyers of color on Long Island. 

An investigation by the AG’s office found that Coldwell Banker agents may have subjected prospective homebuyers of color to different requirements than white homebuyers, directed homebuyers of color to homes in neighborhoods where residents predominantly belonged to communities of color, and otherwise engaged in biased behavior, according to a NYAG statement. 

As part of the settlement, Coldwell Banker will pay $20,000 in penalties and an additional $10,000 to Suffolk County to promote enforcement of and compliance with fair housing laws. The brokerage chain will also make fair housing training available to all of its agents and provide a discrimination complaint form on its website, according to the settlement. 

The settlement with Coldwell Banker follows three other recent enforcement actions on other Long Island real estate brokerage firms for alleged discrimination practices. 

“There is zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind in New York State,” James said in the statement. “My office’s investigation into Coldwell Banker uncovered a persistent pattern of prospective homebuyers receiving different treatment because of their race. Discriminating against people because of race is not just shameful, it is illegal. Housing is and always will be a human right, and my office will continue to address these pervasive and discriminatory practices statewide.” 

The investigation involved a review of five paired tests conducted on Coldwell Banker agents, two from Great Neck and one each from East Setauket, Bellmore, and Massapequa Park. 

In the course of the AG’s investigation, agents warned white potential homebuyers about the diverse racial makeup of a neighborhood but didn’t share the same comments with Black and Hispanic potential homebuyers.  

In another incident, an agent was asked to be shown homes near Garden City by both a white prospective homebuyer and Black prospective homebuyer. The agent showed the white homebuyer listings in neighborhoods that were 83 percent white and discouraged them against looking at properties in Freeport, which is a more racially diverse neighborhood. But the same agent showed the Black homebuyer multiple properties in Freeport.  

In another neighborhood, an agent told a white potential homebuyer “you don’t really know in certain areas what you’re going to get next door,” when speaking about a more diverse neighborhood, but did not share the same criticism with a Black potential homebuyer, according to the AG’s office. 

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