Posted by: Patricia Salkin | April 30, 2021

Fed. Dist. Court of NY Issues Consent Decree in FHA case Following Assertions of Discrimination Against Hasidic Jewish Families

This post was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

The New York State Office of the Attorney General (“NYAG”) intervened in this action, seeking to enforce certain provisions of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended (“the FHA”). The NYAG alleged that the Town of Chester and County of Orange, through their officials, engaged in a concerted, systematic effort to prevent Hasidic Jewish families from moving into the Town in violation of the FHA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a) and 3617. Ultimately, the United States District Court Southern District of New York issued a consent decree.

Pursuant to the consent decree, Town Defendants were prohibited from interfering with the development or acquisition of housing because of religion or familial status, and discriminating because of religion or familial status in any aspect of the administration of zoning, land use, special permit, or building ordinance, laws, policies, practices, requirements or processes relating to residential developments. The Town also agreed to publish its Fair Housing Policy on its Municipal webpage; and visibly include on its Municipal webpage links to the complaint portals for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, and the New York State Division of Human Rights that provide information on the Fair Housing Act.

Additionally, within ninety days of entry of the Consent Decree, Town Defendants agreed to adopt fair housing outreach measures which included: “publication of its Fair Housing Policy and this consent decree on Town Municipal website and social media page; and publication on its Municipal website links to the following websites: https://ag.ny.gov/civil-rights/fair-housing; https://www.hud.gov/fairhousing; and https://dhr.ny.gov/fairhousing. The Town was also required to provide annual in-person or virtual fair housing training, for the duration of the Consent Decree, to all Town employees who have duties related to fair housing, planning, zoning, permitting, construction, or residential housing development decisions. Lastly, the Town was required to designate an employee or official as its Fair Housing Compliance Officer (“FHCO”) and identify the same on its website. Following reasonable notice to counsel for the Town, the NYAG would be permitted to inspect and copy any records associated with compliance with the Consent Decree.

Greens at Chester, LLC v Town of Chester, 2021 WL 1718978 (SDNY 4/30/2021)


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