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March 28, 2022

Westchester Residential Opportunities Alleges Housing Discrimination by Westchester Broker Platzner

White Plains, NY – Today Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. (WRO), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization promoting equal, affordable and accessible housing, filed a housing discrimination lawsuit against New Rochelle-based Merrick Platzner, Platzner Management and related entities. Platzner’s advertisements and refusals to consider renting to housing voucher holders violate New York State’s and Westchester County’s source of income protections.

The complaint filed in Supreme Court, Westchester County, is the result of fair housing investigations conducted by WRO of Platzner in 2021. It asserts that Platzner repeatedly engaged in housing discrimination on the basis of lawful source of income toward individuals using housing vouchers, including Section 8 vouchers.

WRO’s investigation began after an available apartment in a Platzner-related property was advertised using explicitly discriminatory statements, such as “SORRY….NO SECT 8”. Such a statement is unlawful.

WRO’s investigation further confirmed ongoing discrimination. When WRO’s trained testers called Platzner to inquire about renting an apartment using a Section 8 voucher, Platzner stated “I don’t take Westchester County Section 8” in one instance, and “this building doesn’t take Section 8” in another.

WRO’s Executive Director Marlene Zarfes stated: “Section 8 is a critical housing assistance program for low-income households in our community. The actions of Platzner undermine the proper functioning of the Section 8 program and obstruct housing choice for voucher holders.” “This is illegal under New York State and Westchester County law, and can’t be tolerated,” Zarfes added.

WRO is represented in this case by Mariann Wang and Daniel Mullkoff of Cuti Hecker Wang LLP.

To read our complaint, click here. To learn more about source of income protections under New York law, click here.

WRO’s investigative work in this case is made possible by funding from Enterprise Community Partners under the Eliminating Barriers to Housing in New York program.

Founded in 1968, WRO is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote equal, affordable, and accessible housing opportunities for all residents in the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York.