New Jersey AG Platkin Tackles Source-of-Income Discrimination: Enforcement Actions Announced in Eight Cases


In efforts to prevent housing discrimination, New Jersey's Attorney General announces probable cause findings and case resolutions.

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) has made significant strides in combating source-of-income housing discrimination, as outlined in the state's Law Against Discrimination. 

The DCR has issued findings of probable cause in four cases and resolved an additional four cases. All eight cases revolve around allegations that landlords refused rental housing to potential tenants due to their receipt of government rental assistance, a clear violation of New Jersey law.

The probable cause findings concern cases in Atlantic, Camden, and Hudson counties. They reflect the DCR's conclusion that the evidence collected during preliminary investigations indicates reasonable suspicion of New Jersey Law Against Discrimination violations. However, these are not final rulings. 

After a conclusive ruling from the Superior Court or the Office of Administrative Law, offending landlords may face penalties ranging from $10,000 for their first violation to $50,000 for multiple violations within a five-year period.

The four resolved cases involved similar allegations, but based in Atlantic and Middlesex counties. As part of the settlements and consent decrees announced today, the involved housing providers have pledged to abide by the law’s prohibition against source-of-income discrimination, undertake training on their duties under the law, and compensate the individual complainants.

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin reaffirmed the state's commitment to affordable housing, warning, "We will hold accountable anyone who undermines New Jerseyans’ ability to secure housing." 

This sentiment was echoed by Sundeep Iyer, Director of the Division on Civil Rights, who stated, "No one in New Jersey can be denied housing because they are using a housing voucher or other form of government rental assistance."

The probable cause cases primarily involved landlords refusing rental to applicants intending to use the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, a federal assistance initiative for low-income families, the elderly, and disabled individuals. 

In one case, a Galloway Township landlord explicitly stated she did not "participate in any programs" like Section 8, while a real estate agency in Camden County refused to accept a voucher from a tenant who had already signed a lease agreement.

Among the four resolved cases, three were settled via negotiated agreements prior to the end of the DCR’s investigation, and the final case concluded with a consent decree after a finding of probable cause. 

The housing providers in these cases agreed to adhere to the LAD’s prohibition against source-of-income discrimination, receive appropriate training, and compensate the complainants. In all four matters, the housing provider does not admit liability for violating the LAD.

These enforcement actions highlight New Jersey's ongoing commitment to eradicating housing discrimination based on a person's source of income, providing a fair chance at housing for all.

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