New York Housing Testing Lawsuit Settles for $40,000

The N Y Open Housing Center and 10 Black and Latin tester/plaintiffs, have settled an apartment testing case for $40,000. The suit, filed in April 1991 against Richard Parkoff and the Parkoff Organization based in Great Neck, New York, was resolved in October when Judge Mary J. Lowe approved a consent agreement reached by the parties.

For three years every third available apartment in eight buildings in the Pelham Parkway area of the Bronx and Dyckman/Inwood area of Manhattan will be set aside and listed with the Open Housing Center for a 7day priority period. During this time qualified people of color in the Center's housing registry will be offered the opportunity to rent the available units. Monitoring funds to carry out this settlement are to be paid to the Open Housing Center.

A separate agreement reached between the Open Housing Center and Parkoff requires the Parkoff Organization and its agents for three buildings in Forest Hills Queens to inform the Open Housing Center in writing of all available apartments each month, as well as information about any waiting lists for these buildings. While no set asides were secured, Open Housing Center clients will know about the openings and be able to compete on a nondiscriminatory basis for these rentals.

If evidence of discrimination is uncovered, a class action law suit will be brought by the Center.  The testers, and set-aside apartments are sought as a remedy to end the practice, as well as funds to monitor any agreement reached.

The Center has successfully settled ten lawsuits covering housing in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, opening the doors to hundreds of apartments in buildings and/or complexes that previously discriminated in rental practices.

The law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson provided pro bono legal services for the plaintiffs.