The NYC Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in housing based on your actual or perceived race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability, marital status, partnership status, lawful occupation, family status, or lawful source of income. The Law also prohibits retaliation.
Lawful Source of Income (including Section 8 recipients)

Lawful source of income includes income from Social Security, or any form of federal, state, or local public assistance or housing assistance including Section 8 vouchers. 

Any landlord with a building containing at least six units may not discriminate against a tenant or applicant because that individual intends to pay their rent with some lawful income other than a paycheck.

The landlord must accept your rental subsidy even if the building you are in or applying for doesn’t have six units if the landlord owns another building in NYC that has six or more units.

Discrimination means being treated differently by any person with the authority to rent, sell, or deal with applicants or residents of a housing accommodation. For example, a building owner or representative (such as a superintendent) is discriminating if they treat you differently because of your lawful source of income, such as refusing to accept your Section 8 voucher funds toward your rent payments.

These behaviors, policies, or practices could be evidence of discrimination:

  • Being denied an apartment application because the building owner rejects your partner’s or family member’s lawful source of income;

  • Being asked if you are receiving any government assistance or Social Security;

  • Advertising apartments with the phrase “No Programs” or “No Section 8” included;

  • Being told that the law doesn’t apply to rent-controlled units even though you were living there when the law went into effect in 2008;

  • Being told that the law only applies to new Section 8 voucher holders – not to existing tenants with vouchers.
The Law also prohibits retaliation if you file a discrimination complaint against someone, or act as a witness for someone else who files a complaint.

If you believe you are the victim of housing discrimination, contact the NYC Commission on Human Rights at 212-306-7450 or visit 311 online.

Download this information (in PDF)

A website of the NYC Commission on Human Rights and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development

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