BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: Additional Fair Housing Requirements, New Protected Classes in NYC, PCDS Update, You Still Can’t Cold Call!

BARRISTER'S BRIEFING: Additional Fair Housing Requirements, New Protected Classes in NYC, PCDS Update, You Still Can’t Cold Call!
Brian Levine, Esq., HGAR, General Counsel and Professional Standards Administrator

The warmth of the summer is creeping in and it’s time to put your toes in the sand and relax; unless you’re a Realtor. For Realtors, it’s the busy season, but you know this already. So, after you have finished showing all those properties, completed your prospecting, followed up on your phone calls, listed and staged your most recent listing, discussed your most recent offers, and helped find the right bank, inspector, contractor, painter, plumber, landscaper, electrician, stager, photographer, and attorney, take a moment for yourself. Relax! And while you lie down on the hammock, possibly with a cocktail or some other refreshing beverage in hand, here is some light reading to keep you updated on recent real estate activities in the New York area and nationally.

New Triennial Requirement Starting in 2025

As a part of its ongoing efforts to address fair housing inequality, NAR recently established a new triennial requirement for all Realtors. All Realtors must now complete two hours of fair housing training every three years as a condition of Realtor membership. Beneficially, NAR has even included one training option that is of no cost to members. The three-year cycle coincides with NAR’s existing Code of Ethics training requirement and begins in 2025.

Courses satisfying the new NAR requirement are:

At Home With Diversity, a course to help real estate professionals work successfully in an increasingly diverse marketplace.

Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing, a course to help real estate professionals identify and interrupt stereotypical thinking to avoid fair housing pitfalls.

• Any qualified equivalent courses provided by state or local associations, institutes, societies and councils, and their partnered providers.

• Any qualified equivalent fair housing courses approved by state licensing authorities for an existing state fair housing requirement.

• Any to-be-created non-residential practitioner course focused on bias and anti-discrimination training.

Fairhaven: NAR’s online fair housing simulation, will also be updated to meet the stated learning objectives and the two-hour time frame requirement so that it can be included in the list of qualifying courses and serve as the no-cost option.

New York City Adds New Protected Classes

Last month, weight and height were added to New York City’s protected classes by Mayor Eric Adams. The new measure means that in New York City you can be sued for discrimination against, and harassment of persons based on these characteristics. In addition to prohibiting such actions, the ordinance may require certain accommodations to allow persons equal access despite their height and/or weight. The creation of this new class was based upon studies that showed that people routinely discriminated against others based upon their appearance.

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) currently considers morbid obesity to fall within the definition of protected medical conditions. However, discrimination based on appearance alone would not be protected under the ADA. It should be noted that New York State is considering legislation similar to the New York City measure, as are several additional states, including New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Property Condition Disclosure Statement Update

Last month I provided a notice that the Property Condition Disclosure Statement had recently been updated and now included a section regarding the presence and/or treatment of mold. This new form should replace any older versions that any New York real estate office has on file.

Since that notice, I’ve had several calls regarding the requirement that this form MUST be filled out. So, to clarify, the form is required to be used; however, the homeowner, after consultation with their attorney, may choose not to pay $500 at the time of the closing in lieu of filling out the form. This is the same as it was in the past. What is important to remember is that the real estate licensee should not be advising the homeowner as to whether or not they should fill out the form. Leave that to the attorney.

No Cold Calling

Real estate licensees may not make any unsolicited phone calls to a member of the public during a State of Emergency. General Business Law §399-z(5)(a) states: “It shall be unlawful for any telemarketer doing business in this state to knowingly make an unsolicited telemarketing sales call to any person in a county, city, town or village under a declared state of emergency or disaster emergency as described in sections twenty-four or twenty-eight of the executive law.”

NYSAR has interpreted this to include text messaging as well. Whether the State of Emergency is related to real estate activities is irrelevant; there just has to be a State of Emergency. Currently, there are three active State of Emergency orders in effect.

During a State of Emergency, you may not call a person’s home or cell phone to establish a new business relationship with them or solicit them to list their home for sale. You can call a FSBO if you have an identifiable purchaser interested in the property. However, you are prohibited from calling the FSBO to solicit the listing. It should be noted that you may still make business-to-business calls so long as you are calling the number provided as the business number.

All other types of marketing such as mailers, billboards, social media, Internet etc., are permitted.


Today’s light read isn’t earth-shattering. However, it’s important to remain vigilant and aware of what is happening in your business arena, even if it’s done with your toes in the sand, on a boat, sitting in the backyard, or like me, under a tree on a blanket. Happy summer everyone!

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