Discrimination

Landlords may not refuse to rent to, renew the lease of, or otherwise discriminate against, any person or group of persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, marital status or familial status. In New York City, tenants are further protected against discrimination with respect to lawful occupation, sexual orientation, partnership status and immigration status. People with AIDS or who are HIV-positive, as well as recovering alcoholics, are also protected from discrimination. Further, NYC landlords are prohibited from discriminating against tenants based on lawful source of income which includes income from social security or any form of federal, state or local public assistance including section 8 vouchers. Executive Law § 296(5); NYC Admin. Code § 8-107.

Landlords may not discriminate against any person who has children living with them, by refusing to rent an apartment or by insisting upon unfavorable lease terms on the basis of the person having children. However, this restriction does not apply to housing units for senior citizens which are subsidized or insured by the federal government. In addition, a lease may not require that tenants remain childless during their tenancy. Real Property Law §237.

An aggrieved party should contact HUD within one year after the alleged discriminatory housing practice occurs or ceases. In New York City, an aggrieved party may file a complaint with the NYC Commission on Human Rights within one year from the date on which the discriminatory act occurred. An aggrieved party may also choose to sue for damages against a landlord who violates this law, and may recover attorney’s fees if successful. NYC Admin. Code § 8-109; 42 U.S.C.A. § 3610(a)(1).

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