In an announcement on Monday, Feb. 5, James and her office said that they had reached an agreement with real estate broker Pasquale Marciano and his companies, Century 21 Marciano, Anthony Marciano Real Estate Inc., and New Roc Property Management, to stop them from enforcing illegal policies that denied housing opportunities to low-income renters.
According to James's office, real estate agents overseen by Marciano, who owns 13 multifamily rental properties in New Rochelle that consist of 76 units, would violate local and state laws by refusing to rent apartments to investigators who said they would use a Section 8 Housing Choice voucher to pay their rent.
This was discovered as part of an investigation conducted by the Office of the Attorney General and the Housing Rights Initiative. During the investigation, agents working with Century 21 Marciano told investigators that they refused to accept Section 8 vouchers because they "preferred not to," officials said.
This violates New York state law, which stipulates that owners, landlords, property managers, rental agents, and brokers can not discriminate against potential renters because they receive housing subsidies.
As part of the agreement with the Office of the Attorney General, Marciano must place nine tenants in his units who use Section 8 or other government housing subsidies. Additionally, he is required to pay $40,000 to the state and take part in anti-discrimination training, along with any customer-facing staff member at his companies.
The agreement also requires Marciano to implement an anti-discrimination policy and distribute it to everyone in his companies involved in any rentals, advertise all vacant units as accepting government housing vouchers, and ensure that rental application fees are not higher than the $20 maximum.
"Discrimination against low-income New Yorkers denies opportunities to those most in need of housing assistance," James said of the agreement, adding, "This agreement will open up housing specifically for low-income New Yorkers and send a clear message that this kind of discrimination is unacceptable in our communities."
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