Beaton and Alberti v. Vinje Realty and F. J. Kazeroid Realty Group
A landlord and his real estate broker refused to rent a vacant one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, New York, to two gay men, Gabriel Beaton and Philip Alberti — even though they were the first to apply for the apartment and their credit was good. The broker informed the two men that the apartment's owner, Harold Vinje of Vinje Realty, would not rent to two gay men in a relationship. When the Open Housing Center, a group that fights housing discrimination, sent investigators posing as prospective renters, those identifying themselves as gay couples were told the space was too small for two people, while those applying as heterosexual couples were enthusiastically shown the apartment. Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of Beaton, Alberti and the Open Housing Center, charging the landlord and the brokerage with violating New York City's Human Rights Law. We negotiated a settlement compensating the two gay men for their ordeal. (The exact terms are confidential.) In addition, the real estate broker, F. J. Kazeroid Realty Group, agreed to institute antidiscrimination training for its staff, to prevent such incidents in the future.
Thirty-four percent of gay people have been turned away from renting or buying a home because of their sexual orientation, or know someone who has, according to a 2001 nationwide survey commissioned by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Rampant housing discrimination continues despite more and more state and local laws designed to protect against it.
Lambda Legal's Impact
This case is a reminder to landlords that housing discrimination against gay and lesbian people has been illegal in New York City since the mid-1980s.
- February 2000 Lambda files suit on Beaton and Alberti's behalf in Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn.
- April 2000 Lambda reaches a settlement with the broker.
- July 2001 Lambda reaches a settlement with the landlord.