AG Platkin, Division on Civil Rights Announce Enforcement Actions in Ten Cases Involving Alleged Housing Discrimination

Division Announces Findings of Probable Cause in Cases Filed by Non-Profit Watchdog Housing Rights Initiative

For Immediate Release: April 17. 2024

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Division on Civil Rights
– Sundeep Iyer, Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Tara Oliver

TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) announced today that DCR has issued Findings of Probable Cause in 10 cases alleging that landlords and real estate agents violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) by denying housing to individuals who stated that they wished to pay their rent using Section 8 vouchers, a form of government rental assistance.  The cases were filed with DCR by Housing Rights Initiative (HRI), a non-profit housing watchdog group that conducts tests to detect housing discrimination.

Under the LAD, potential renters cannot be denied the opportunity to rent because they receive government rental assistance.  Landlords and their representatives, including real estate agents and brokers, also cannot discourage individuals who receive government rental assistance from renting.  In each of the enforcement actions announced today, DCR found probable cause to conclude that a property owner or real estate agency violated the LAD by denying individuals the opportunity to rent housing using government rental assistance.

In all 10 cases, HRI filed complaints with DCR after testers employed by HRI were told either by the landlord or by a real estate agent or broker that the properties in question would not accept housing vouchers.  In each case, the landlord or real estate agent stated as much in writing or in a recorded conversation with testers employed by HRI, providing direct evidence of discrimination.

“No one should face discrimination when seeking a home. Access to safe, affordable housing is a basic right,” said Attorney General Platkin. “In New Jersey, it’s against the law to refuse someone the opportunity to rent because they use government rental assistance. And if you break the law, we will hold you accountable.”

“Too often, people who have Section 8 vouchers or other government rental assistance face discrimination as they seek to access housing.  As the enforcement actions announced today make clear, that discrimination is often happening in plain sight,” said Sundeep Iyer, Director of the Division on Civil Rights. “That’s why we have dramatically expanded our enforcement efforts to combat housing discrimination against recipients of government rental assistance across our state.  As we continue to expand those enforcement efforts, we are grateful to organizations like Housing Rights Initiative for their ongoing commitment to bringing potential instances of housing discrimination to our attention.”

The Findings of Probable Cause announced today involve six properties in Jersey City, two in Newark, and one property each in Garfield and Hillsdale.  In each case, DCR found probable cause to conclude that the property owner violated the LAD’s prohibition against source-of-income discrimination.  DCR also found probable cause to conclude that five different real estate agencies – Boutique Realty, Realty Mark LLC, Rovazo Realty Group, Sokolich Real Estate Enterprises, and Weichert Realtors – violated the LAD by telling prospective renters that the property would not accept renters who used vouchers to pay their rent.

The issuance of Findings of Probable Cause does not represent a final adjudication of these cases. Rather, it indicates that DCR has concluded its preliminary investigation and determined sufficient evidence exists to support a reasonable suspicion that the LAD has been violated. The matter then goes to conciliation, giving the parties an opportunity to negotiate a voluntary resolution of the matter.  If the parties are unable to reach a voluntary resolution, a Deputy Attorney General will be appointed to prosecute the matter either in Superior Court or in the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law.


The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) works to prevent, eliminate, and remedy discrimination and bias-based harassment in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation throughout New Jersey. DCR enforces the Law Against Discrimination, the New Jersey Family Leave Act, and the Fair Chance in Housing Act.

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