Coldwell Banker to Pay $30K to Settlement Housing Discrimination Claims

According to an announcement by Letitia James, New York Attorney General, Coldwell Banker Realty has agreed a $30,000 settlement to settle allegations of discrimination against Black, Hispanic and other Long Island homebuyers of Color.
Coldwell Banker will pay $10,000 to Suffolk County and $20,000 in penalties. This money will be used to promote the enforcement and compliance of fair housing laws. The settlement also included fair housing training for its agents, and a form to file a discrimination complaint on the brokerage’s website.
James stated in a statement that New York State has zero tolerance for discrimination of all kinds. “Coldwell Banker’s prospective homebuyers were subject to a consistent pattern of discrimination from my office,” James said.
Following a 2019 Newsday investigation into claims of Coldwell Banker housing discrimination, the New York Attorney General’s Office began an investigation into the company’s practices.
The AG’s Office investigated the misconduct of five Coldwell Banker agents based in New York. They allegedly warned white potential homebuyers about certain racial demographics, but not the same for Black and Hispanic homebuyers.
James’ office stated in the announcement that agents “may have subjected potential homebuyers in color to different requirements than white buyers, directed homebuyers in color to homes in areas where residents are predominantly from communities of color, and otherwise engaged in biased behaviour.”
The New York AG’s office highlighted one incident in which two homebuyers, one black and one white, asked an agent to show them homes close to Garden City. According to the AG’s office the agent showed the white homebuyer listings in neighborhoods that were 83% White. The agent also showed Black homebuyers properties in Freeport, which is a more diverse neighborhood.
According to the AG’s office, another incident was when an agent told a potential white homebuyer that “you don’t really know in some areas what you’re going to get next to” when referring to a more diverse neighborhood. The agent did not make the same criticism to a Black potential homeowner.
This isn’t the first time that a New York-based brokerage has been under fire from the AG’s office. Late last year, Attorney General James, Governor Kathy Hochul, and Keller Williams Greater Nassau announced that Keller Williams Realty Elite, Keller Williams Realty Elite, and Laffey Real Estate had agreed to settle allegations of discriminatory practices that violated federal and state fair housing laws.