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Fair Housing follies: don't mention the school district

Good New York Times piece on how New York's fair housing laws make it harder for buyers to learn about buildings:

�If a family with children wants to know if there are other children the same age in a building, we�re supposed to say, �You should stand outside the building between 2 and 5 p.m. and see who walks in,� � said Michele Kleier, the president of Gumley Haft Kleier. �But how do you say something like that with a straight face?� ...

[Neil] Garfinkel goes on to warn brokers that they should not identify the school districts where apartments are located. This, despite the fact that real estate ads often boast that an address is zoned for top-rated schools like P.S. 6 on the Upper East Side or P.S. 234 in TriBeCa.

He said that while it is all right to name a school district when specifically asked, the fact should not be advertised because some school districts have distinctive racial compositions and advertising the district could be seen as a way of expressing preference for a specific race. Brokers are often stunned by this prohibition, he said, �but I�m a lawyer, and I�m going by the strict letter of the law.�

The story goes on to note that New York City is considering expanding its fair housing laws even further in a way that would effectively destroy co-op boards' ability to pick their neighbors. (Vivian S. Toy, "Questions Your Broker Can't Answer", June 24). Now all we need is for the Times editorial page to start reading their news pages and figure out that more liability isn't always better.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.