(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A acknowledged abrrent aimed at attention low-income, bedridden renters w acquire government abetment has bound 46 South Florida brokerages and dozens of adver agents for allegedly agreeable in abominable announcement practices, according to cloister abstracts advised by The Real Deal.
Christopher Benjamin, an busted man built-in with Albinism which acquired him to advance problems with his sight, including blurred eyes and repeive, amoral movements with his eyes, is suing 35 firms in Miami-Dade and addition 11 in Broward for allegedly actionable fair accommodation laws in both counties. The lawsuits additionally name adver agents as defendants.
Benjamin is represented by Social Justice Law Collective, a Washington D.C.-based close that specializes in accommodation bigotry cases. The lawsuits adduce Realtor embly alive for the actor brokerages listed rental acreage advers that alone iniduals w acquire Section 8 istance, a federal affairs which pays landlords the anhesis of a hire acquittal that exceeds 30 percent of a renter’s account income.
Attorney and Social Justice co-founder Joshua Glickman said the ambition of the lawsuits is to force leasing agents and landlords to acquire by bounded laws that prohibit accommodation bigotry based on a abeyant renter’s antecedent of income. “If you glance at online clified ads, brokers, Realtors, address ociations and acreage administration companies are still actually abstinent tenants based on their antecedent of income,” Glickman said. “It is not alone violations of the law, but it additionally reduces the account of Section 8 vouchers that represent a basic buoy for recipients of the federal program.”
The barrage of lawsuits –– which began on Nov. 20 back Benjamin sued Miami Lakes-based Premium Miami Realty and Realtor accessory Ricardo Resino –– prompted the Florida Realtors Association to accelerate out an burning acknowledged active to its membership. While the lawsuits don’t affect to violations of the federal Fair Accommodation Act, acute adjoin Section 8 tenants does breach Miami-Dade and Broward laws, the advising states.
“General Counsel Margy Grant advises that Realtors are encouraged to ysis their listings and announcement to ensure that no listing, either in the MLS or not, contains any accent that disallows accommodation to addition with a Section 8 voucher,” the advising states. “Realtors charge ignment to brainwash their landlords or acreage managers that this is not permissible beneath the bounded ordinances.”
Florida Realtors agent Marla Martin said the active went out afterwards the alignment actomed calls from some of the brokers w were sued by Benjamin. “When we do apprenticeship cles we fo on accompaniment and federal law,” Martin said. “We became acquainted of the bounded measures, including in Broward, which aloof anesthetized added protections, and fabricated abiding that our ociates are additionally acquainted of the bounded measures that go added than what federal law requires.”
Four years ago, Miami-Dade fabricated it actionable to use sources of ets in free whether or not to hire or advertise a me to an inidual. It is advised a abominable practice, the aforementioned as a person’s race, color, religion, animal acclimatization and gender ideny. Broward anesthetized agnate legislation in December.
A the added arresting brokerages Benjamin is suing: The Keyes Company, Luxe Properties, Related ISG Realty and Countrywide Realty. The best contempo lawsuits were filed on March 4 adjoin Aventura-based Beachfront Realty and its accessory Gigi Zinn in Broward County Circuit Cloister and on March 13 adjoin Sunny Isles Beach’s Optimar International Realty and its accessory Gregory Whaley in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
According to the complaint adjoin Beachfront Realty, Benjamin is a “fair accommodation tester” w is able to pare in the Section 8 agenda program. As a tester, Benjamin conducts inquiries into landlords and realtors that breach fair accommodation laws. “Our applicant knows immediate the adversity of award using,” Glickman said. “If you acquire acquaintance with Section 8, you will acquisition accommodation providers are abstinent it due to boundless stereotypes about bodies w acquire government istance.”
In aboriginal 2018, while perusing accommodation rental listings on Craigslist, Benjamin came beyond an ad for a two-bedroom accommodation for $1,350 a ages in Hollywood, according to the Beachfront lawsuit. The ad acclaimed the emblage was “1 of a kind” and a “true gem.” But it additionally included the tagline, “No Section 8 Please.”
Benjamin alleges he was “saddened, angered and insulted” by the actuality that Beachfront and Zinn affianced in abominable practices and absolute banned to acquire Section 8 tenants. He additionally aced Beachfront and Zinn of actionable Broward’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits bigotry adjoin renters based on their antecedent of income.
Beachfront buyer Ed Roberts absolved the lawsuits filed by Benjamin and Social Justice Collective. “They are nuisance attorneys w are acquisitive that brokers will aloof achieve and they can aggregate bags of dollars,” Roberts said.
According to Miami-Dade cloister records, four of the 35 lawsuits acquire been settled. Glickman refuted Roberts, acquainted his applicant gave brokers the befalling to alter their advers afore filing the complaints.
“These are not ‘gotcha’ lawsuits,” Glickman said. “The primary ambition is to get these actors –– brokers, Realtors, ociations and acreage managers –– to abolish the abominable announcement and convention behavior so that agnate ads are not appear in the future. I can accept they are black about actuality alleged out. Unfortunately, these agents accomplish advised decisions to breach the law and abide to discriminate adjoin Section 8 recipients.”
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