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BUFFALO, N.Y. (August 4, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has stopped a Western New York real estate management company from denying housing to potential tenants because they receive government housing subsidies, including Section 8.

Under an agreement with the Attorney General’s Office, the managers of Buffalo’s Camelot Court Apartments, Clover Management, Inc., must designate future available units for recipients of government housing subsidies, and provide an apartment to an individual who was initially denied housing because he was a Section 8 recipient. The company must also pay $10,000 to the Attorney General’s Office to be principally used for outreach and education of anti-discrimination laws. 

The City of Buffalo enacted a law in 2006 that makes it illegal for any landlord or property manager to refuse to rent housing to anyone because of their source of income (Chapter 154 of the Code of the City of Buffalo, Discrimination)

 “To deny housing to those who receive government assistance is inexcusable,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “There must be an equal playing field. Low-income families have just as much right to have a roof over their head as those with more money. My office is committed to making sure that landlords comply with laws that help low and moderate-income residents afford housing.”

Attorney General Cuomo’s Office launched an investigation into Camelot Court Apartments, one of more than twenty Western New York rental properties managed by Williamsville-based Clover Management, Inc. The office led an undercover investigation with Housing Opportunities Made Equal (“HOME”), a non-profit organization that focuses on ensuring fair and equal access to housing in the Western New York area. Undercover HOME testers went to Camelot Court seeking apartments. However, when the testers revealed they were Section 8 recipients, the Property Manager told them that the complex did not accept Section 8. The Attorney General’s investigation confirmed that Camelot Court routinely turned Section 8 recipients away. 

The Attorney General’s agreement with Clover Management, Inc. requires the company to:

  • Pay $10,000 principally for outreach and education of anti-discrimination laws 
  • Reserve 20 future available units in Camelot Court Apartments initially for recipients of Section 8 or other government rent subsidies
  • Establish waiting lists for Section 8 recipients who want to live in Camelot Court Apartments, and register all available units with the local Section 8 administering agencies
  • Rent a Camelot Court apartment to an individual whose application was originally rejected because he received Section 8
  • Retain an outside organization to conduct periodic tests on Clover Management properties to ensure future compliance with the law
  • Ensure that rental agents receive training on the requirements of federal, state and local fair housing laws

The settlement marks the first government law enforcement action under the 2006 Buffalo law designed to increase the availability of housing for low- and moderate-income tenants. It is one of several local laws in New York state that prohibit housing discrimination based upon an individual’s source of income, including public assistance, pensions, annuities and government rent subsidies such as Section 8. New York City, Nassau County, Hamburg, and West Seneca have passed similar laws.

Scott Gehl, Executive Director of HOME said, “We applaud the Attorney General for enforcing the Buffalo Fair Housing ordinance, which provides needed protection to those who depend on lawful government assistance to obtain safe and adequate housing.  In Buffalo, people cannot be turned away from getting a home for which they are otherwise qualified, simply because they receive government subsidies.  With this settlement, the Attorney General is making a real difference in the lives of those of limited means, and who need an advocate to protect their rights.”

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