Past Cases

Long Island Housing Services, Inc. v. NPS Holiday Square LLC

Status Past Case

Practice area Civil Rights & Employment

Court U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York

Case number 2:18-cv-03583-JMA-AYS


On February 16, 2024, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law helped Long Island Housing Services (LIHS), Suffolk Independent Living Organization (SILO), and two Long Island residents reached a settlement in a federal class action against NPS Property Corporation, a prominent Long Island-area property management company, of intentional, systemic, and rampant housing discrimination on the basis of disability and source of income.

Originally filed in March 22, 2019, the class action alleged that NPS Property Corp. violated the federal Fair Housing Act and the New York State Human Rights Law, both of which bar housing discrimination on the basis of disability and race, as well as Suffolk County Human Rights Law, which forbids discriminatory housing practices on the basis of race, disability or lawful source of income, including income through Social Security and the use of housing subsidy programs.

The settlement was reached after a Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation finding that NPS had violated the Suffolk County fair housing laws by denying applicants because of their use of housing vouchers. NPS agreed to settle with LIHS for $105,000.00 in monetary damages, separate from attorneys’ fees and costs, and as part of the agreement, LIHS will monitor NPS Properties for three years at an additional cost of $25,000 per year. The settlement also stipulates NPS must adopt critical policy changes to safeguard against future discrimination, including adopting a minimum income requirement that for voucher holders considers only the portion of the rent for which the applicant is responsible, thus taking into account the structure and purpose for which vouchers exist. NPS will also implement a non-discriminatory fair housing policy, display an equal housing opportunity logo, and provide fair housing training to their employees and agents.

The NPS entities named in the lawsuit include: NPS Property Corp., NPS Holiday Square LLC, Northwood Village, Inc., Brightwaters Gardens, Inc., Lakeside Garden Apartments LLC, and South Shore Gardens, LLC (collectively, “NPS”).

Case Background

The lawsuit, building on and amending individual claims brought forth in recent months, alleged that NPS Property Corp.  engaged in a pattern of intentional discrimination against prospective renters with disabilities, those with public sources of income, as well as African Americans.

In particular, the amended complaint, filed on November 5, 2020, alleged the discriminatory practices targeting applicants with disabilities and those with public sources of income were more widespread than previously known, including policies designed to discourage individuals with disabilities and those who use housing subsidies from applying to live at NPS’s properties. These properties include Holiday Square, Northwood Village, Brightwaters Garden, Lakeside Garden Apartments, East Newbrook Gardens, South Shore Gardens, Normandy Gardens and Monroe Gardens, all in Suffolk County, Long Island.

According to the complaint, Doreen Kernozek, a Suffolk County resident and a named plaintiff in the suit, inquired in November 2016 about an apartment at the NPS-owned Holiday Square complex. Kernozek suffers from a number of debilitating health issues and participates in the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) Medicaid Waiver, a housing subsidy program. The lawsuit alleged that while initially receptive to Kernozek’s application, NPS staff reversed course upon learning of her health status and access to subsidies, asserting she could not be approved for the apartment because she did not meet the unit’s income threshold for renting an apartment at Holiday Square, despite the fact that Kernozek’s income, derived from Social Security, far exceeded the amount she was required to pay towards rent under the NHTD subsidy.

The amended complaint, similarly outlined the experiences of Lori Gerardi, another named plaintiff who attempted to apply for an apartment at the NPS-owned South Shore Gardens complex. According to the lawsuit, Gerardi, who has been approved for a Mainstream Program housing subsidy in light of her medical conditions, submitted an application noting her participation in the subsidy program. Despite earning an income that was over three times the portion of the rent that the subsidy required her to pay, the complaint alleged NPS Property Corp. staff told Gerardi that the complex had “reached its quota” for individuals using such subsidies.

In both the case of Ms. Gerardi and Ms. Kerzonek, the suit alleged the company’s application stated it could reject any candidate whose income was not four times the posted monthly rent for an apartment, regardless of the whether or not the applicant used a housing subsidy, effectively discouraging anyone using a housing subsidy from applying for an NPS Property Corp. apartment.

According to the lawsuit, these experiences echo findings by LIHS, a fair housing advocacy organization, and SILO, which administers state-approved grants to improve housing access for individuals with disabilities. These organizations uncovered a wide-reaching pattern of intentional discrimination at NPS-owned properties. The complaint stated that on multiple occasions, SILO and LIHS staff were informed by staff at NPS Property Corp.’s Holiday Square complex that it had “reached its quota” for admitting tenants who rely on public assistance related to disabilities.

Furthermore, according to the amended complaint, LIHS’s investigation into NPS Property Corp.’s rental policies found that White applicants at the company’s Northwood Village complex were told about upcoming availabilities and given contact information for property representatives, while Black applicants were routinely informed that no units were available and were directed to a non-functional phone number for further inquiries.

Case Name: Long Island Housing Services, Inc. et al v. NPS Holiday Square LLC et al, Case No. 2:18-cv-03583, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York