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CurbedWire: Springtime in the Garden of Karl, Brown Harris Sued for Discriminating Against Families

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WILLIAMSBURG?Spring has come to the Garden of Karl behind 20 Bayard. Well, sort of. The planting in the garden is done, unlike the look we had back in January, but curiously, there were no flowers, at least, not as of a couple of days ago when the photo was taken. A reader emails of the Karl Fischer-designed building's backside: "Maybe they're waiting for people to move in or maybe they just wanted green, but it's weird to see a garden in Spring without flowers." [CurbedWire Inbox]

BROOKLYN?A class action lawsuit was filed today against Brown Harris Stevens for discriminating against families with children looking to rent apartments. Per a press release detailing the suit and the allegations: "In 2007, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) conducted a testing investigation in response to a complaint made by the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that in 2006 and 2007, BHS real estate agents refused to show apartments for rent or to negotiate with Jamie Katz and his wife, Lisa Nocera, because they were expecting and then had a child." The apartments were in Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope.

Here's a bit more:

The Katz/Nocera family alleges they were told by two different BHS agents with rental listings that the owners of available apartments in Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope would not rent to a family with a child. One agent is alleged to have said, “I’ll show you everything available that I think is suitable for kids.” The lawsuit alleges that after receiving a complaint from the Katz/Nocera family in 2007, the FHJC sent testers posing as prospective married renters with and without children. The testers are alleged to have inquired about one of the same apartments for rent that the Katz/Nocera family attempted to rent. The FHJC tester with a child was allegedly told by a BHS senior vice president that the owner was reluctant to rent to a
tenant with a child, but the tester without a child was allegedly not discouraged from renting the apartment by the very same BHS broker after learning that the tester did not have any children. Mariann Meier Wang, attorney for the plaintiffs, stated “No family should have to tolerate illegal discrimination while searching for housing or endure the insult, embarrassment, and costs that result from an act of housing discrimination. Ms. Wang added, “When multiple agents in the same real estate company openly discriminate against families with children, as is alleged in this complaint, it becomes obvious that restricting the housing choices available to families with children is the ongoing and ordinary way that this real estate company does business.”

More to come.

20 Bayard

20 Bayard Street, Brooklyn, NY