The NYC Commission on Human Rights protects individuals from discrimination in housing based on the protected classes under the Law and enforces the NYC Human Rights Law, promoting equal opportunity and prohibiting discriminatory practices that unfairly limit the housing choices of protected groups, or individuals.
The protected classes covered under the Law are:
- National Origin
- Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
- Marital or Partnership Status
- Status as Victim of Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, or Stalking
- Lawful Source of Income (including housing subsidies)
- Lawful Occupation
- Alienage or Citizenship Status
- The Presence of Children
You are covered under the Law if you reside in an/a:
- Apartment building or multiple family dwelling
- Government-assisted housing
- Residential hotel *
* SROs (Single Room Occupancy) and hotels may be considered public accommodations.
You are not covered by the Law if:
- You are a resident of a two-family house where the owner or a member of the owner’s family resides in that house and the available housing accommodation was not advertised.
- You rent a room or rooms in non-government assisted housing where the owner resides.
Unlawful practices based on an individual’s membership in a protected class include:
- Refusing to sell, rent, or lease housing
- Misrepresenting the availability of housing
- Setting different terms, conditions, or privileges for the sale, rental, or lease of housing
- Providing different housing services or facilities
- Posting discriminatory advertising or marketing that indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on a protected class (e.g., ‘no children’ or ‘married couples only’)
- Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability
- Steering a potential homebuyer or renter to, or away from, an area on the basis of race or national origin
- Pressuring, for profit, homeowners to sell by exploiting ethnic, racial, or other demographic changes (blockbusting)
- Threatening, coercing, or intimidating individuals because they exercise their fair housing rights or assist others in doing so
Unlawful lending and credit practices include:
- Refusing to make a mortgage loan to a qualified applicant due to protected class
- Refusing to provide information regarding loans due to protected class
- Imposing different terms or conditions on a loan or credit card, such as different interest rates, points, or fees due to protected class
- Discriminating in appraising properties due to protected class
- Denying conventional mortgages in certain communities (redlining) due to protected class
Reasonable Accommodation for Persons with Disabilities in Housing:
- The Law protects the rights of people with disabilities by requiring landlords, coops, and condominiums to make a reasonable accommodation for disabled tenants, shareholders, or owners.
- A reasonable accommodation can be structural such as a ramp at the building entrance to provide wheelchair access or installing grab bars in a bathroom.
- A reasonable accommodation can also involve a policy change such as permitting a tenant who is blind or has a psychological disability to have a guide dog or companion animal, despite a building’s ‘no pets’ policy.
- The Law also requires the landlord to pay for an accommodation if it is deemed reasonable – that is architecturally and financially feasible.