This is a new one: DNAInfo reports that the board of a pricey apartment building in Manhattan demanded to interview a prospective buyer’s minor child. The woman, Joyce Kacin, told the website that she feared she would have to comply with the request or lose a $25,000 deposit.
DNAInfo found a complaint that Kacin filed last year with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Kacin wrote that she’d applied for an apartment in a condo building called Woodstock Tower in a neighborhood that has apparently been deemed Tudor City. (The non-real estate agents among us would call it “MidtownEast,” an area formerly known as Goat Hill. It used to be nothing but slums, slaughterhouses and a power plant, but, praise be the gentrification gods, you can now pay too much money to live close to nothing at all).
Kacin wrote in her complaint that she was told to bring her son, whose age she didn’t disclose, to the interview:
“I was invited to a Coop Board interview. However, the invitation included the need to bring my minor child! Why, in Heavens Name, would a minor child be required to participate in this?? Why would a child be required to go through such an ominous meeting? What could the child add to the interview that anyone has any right to question or expect?”
The implication here is that co-op board would approve or reject her based in part on her son’s behavior. That would be a direct violation of New York City’s Human Rights law, namely this portion. Landlords can’t, in the law’s words:
(1) To refuse to sell, rent, lease approve the sale, rental or lease or otherwise deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons such a housing accommodation or an interest therein because of the actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, partnership status, or alienage or citizenship status of such person or persons, or because of any lawful source of income of such person, or because children are, may be or would be residing with such person or persons.
Kacin also said in her complaint that she was advised by her broker to comply with the request, and that she was only able to avoid bringing her child to the interview by writing a letter disclosing some of their private family affairs:
“I wrote a letter to the Coop Board and gently, sweetly, and diplomatically asked them to interview me alone, without my child,” she said in her complaint. “To ‘apologize’ for my request, I went into descriptions of my child and my life circumstances which, in hindsight, were an invasion of my privacy and should have been unnecessary.”
Basing co-op approval on the behavior of children is a new frontier in tackiness, even for a city where developers install poor doors and landlords evict old Italian American ladies from properties owned by Italian American museums. Kacin told DNAInfo she believes the Woodstock board isn’t interviewing buyers’ children any longer, but there’s no guarantee it’s not happening elsewhere in the city.
Screenshot via ABC Television
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