The New York State Senate issued 25 subpoenas to real estate agents and companies as part of a probe into housing discrimination. The housing issues were brought to light in Newsday’s ‘Long Island Divided‘ series. The Newsday investigation tested 93 real estate agents and 5,763 listings over the course of three years. They uncovered evidence of widespread unequal treatment by the agents.
In the study a black tester and a white tester separately solicit an agent for assistance buying a home. They present similar financials and request identical terms for houses in the same area. The agents actions are then reviewed for differences in service. They conducted 39 tests comparing black and white testers, 31 tests with Hispanic and white testers, and 16 tests with Asian and white testers. They found housing discrimination 19% of the time against Asians, 39% of the time against Hispanics, and 49% of the time against Blacks.
The New York State Legislature rarely uses subpoenas but the move was necessary after 67 of 68 industry representatives did not appear at a hearing on discrimination in December. The subpoenas will force industry representatives to discuss racist and biased housing practices in New York State on April 17th.