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 Occupation (including military status)

Lawful occupation means any lawful vocation, trade, profession, or field of specialization. It includes members of the military.

Discrimination based on lawful occupation can also be marital status, partnership status, or family status discrimination.

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 actual or perceived lawful occupation, such as expressing worries about renting to a person in active military service or the reserves.

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

  • Being denied an apartment application because the building owner is uncomfortable with your,your partner’s, or family member’s actual or perceived lawful occupation;

  • Being evicted during your military tour of duty after being called up from the reserves;

  • Being asked if you have ever appeared in housing court or sued a landlord after you
    told a prospective landlord that you were a practicing attorney; or

  • Being told that the landlord doesn’t like musicians or actors in the building because they’re all drug users and come and go at all hours
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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