New York State Fair Housing Laws Explained
The law makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone who wants to rent or buy a home or apartment in New York State, based on their race, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability. This applies to single-family homes, apartments, condos, and co-ops. The New York State Division of Human Rights enforces the law. The Division investigates complaints and can sue anyone who breaks the law in state court or recommend that the Attorney General file criminal charges in district court on behalf of the people of New York State.
Fair housing laws basics
If you’re considering buying a home, or selling one in New York, you must familiarize yourself with fair housing laws. Fair housing laws are designed to protect individuals and families from discrimination when it comes to renting or buying property.
Types of housing discrimination
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability and familial status. If you are being discriminated against by your landlord or a potential landlord because of one of these characteristics (or if someone has told you that they won’t rent to you because of your characteristics), then contact an attorney who is experienced in housing discrimination cases. These protections apply whether you are a prospective renter or homebuyer.
Protecting yourself from housing discrimination
New York state fair housing laws prohibit landlords from discriminating against potential tenants based on certain factors, including race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Every landlord in New York state must comply with these laws. If a landlord does not follow them, he or she can be held liable for discrimination. For example, if a tenant believes that his or her landlord has violated fair housing law in some way (for example, by refusing to rent to tenants of Hispanic origin), that tenant has 30 days to file a complaint. The NYS Division of Human Rights investigates such complaints and decides whether it is appropriate to bring formal charges against a landlord.