A Glen Cove apartment building and its owner have reached a settlement over claims they discriminated against prospective renters with disabilities and those who receive housing subsidies, the nonprofit group Long Island Housing Services said Friday.
Glen Arms Apartments, Glen Arms Group LLC and their owner, Arthur T. Mott Real Estate LLC, paid $11,000 in a settlement with the Bohemia-based housing group, Long Island Housing Services said. The companies also agreed to train their employees in fair-housing laws, adopt nondiscriminatory policies and change their rental applications, lease agreements and websites, the group said.
The companies did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
Bias against people who have disabilities and those who receive housing subsidies "appears to be all too common," said Ian Wilder, executive director of Long Island Housing Services. Landlords and other housing providers, he said, "are responsible for knowing the rules for operating their business. ... It’s no different than a restaurant knowing food safety handling laws or fire occupancy codes."
It is illegal under federal, state and Nassau County law to discriminate against people with disabilities. State and county law also prohibit discrimination based on legal sources of income, such as housing subsidies.
Long Island Housing Services received a complaint about Glen Arms last year from a person who receives disability subsidies and inquired about renting but was not allowed to view apartments, Wilder said.
In response, the group sent testers to Glen Arms. The testers who said they had housing subsidies were not allowed to view apartments, and in some cases they were told the building was trying to "phase out" tenants who receive Section 8 housing vouchers for people with low incomes, Wilder said.
Testers who tried to find housing for people with disabilities who receive vouchers meant to help people move out of nursing homes also were not allowed to view apartments, Long Island Housing Services said. The testers were told to contact the manager and they tried to do so, but the manager never responded, the group said.
By contrast, testers who did not mention disabilities or subsidies were shown apartments, Wilder said.
Long Island Housing Services brought the results of its probe to the state Division of Human Rights, which helped broker the settlement, Wilder said. Wilder said the group hopes to use such settlements "as an education tool to remind and, if necessary, inform housing providers and to let people who are renting or buying know that these rights are out there."