New York Legislature updates real estate ‘sellers’ law to include gender

According to the New York State Association of Realtors64% of REAL ESTATE AGENTS in New York® are women, but NYS law only refers to men in law

Bill by Senator Kaplan and Congressman O’Donnell updates state real estate law to replace the word “vendor” with “vendor” and updates pronouns to be gender-neutral

CARLE PLACE, NY (May 9, 2022) – Last week, the New York State Assembly passed a law, S.536a/A.8077a, introduced by Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) and Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell (D-Morningside Heights), which will update the nearly century-old section of the Real Estate Salespersons Act, removing outdated, gender-specific language and replacing it with gender-neutral language. Having now been passed by both houses of the Legislative Assembly, the bill will be forwarded to Governor Hochul for consideration.

The underlying section of the Real Estate Act, drafted in 1927, which regulates the professions of real estate brokerage and sales, currently includes 85 references to “sellers” and dozens of instances of gendered pronouns like he, him and his. The law only includes a reference to a “vendor” in two places and makes no reference to “vendors”.

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said that “jobs are genderless, but unfortunately many laws in our state still use gender-specific language when discussing occupations performed by people of all genders. It is important that we update these outdated sections of the law to reflect our New York values ​​and send a message that everyone, regardless of gender, should be able to pursue their passions.”

Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell said “People of all professions deserve to feel valued, but the gendered language in our real estate law does not adequately recognize the contributions of women and non-binary New Yorkers. We want our workplaces to reflect New York’s diversity, and the best way to achieve that goal is to ensure that all real estate agents feel like they belong and that the profession is accessible. I thank Senator Kaplan for his leadership on this issue, and I am pleased to report that the bill will now be sent to the governor for consideration.”

The bill, S.536a/A.8077a, will update Section 12-A of the Real Property Act by:

  • Change all occurrences of the word seller to seller
  • Remove gendered language from the article by removing references to “his” in favor of “their”, replacing “himself” with “themselves”, as well as appropriate changes in variations of these words.

According to studies by the New York State Association of Realtors (read here) and the National Association of Realtors (read here), men are actually a minority in the profession, with women making up 64% of realtors nationwide. nationally and in New York State. By removing gendered language from state real estate law, the law will finally reflect gender diversity in the real estate profession.​​​​​

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