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.

You have a right under the NYC Human Rights Law and other Fair Housing Laws to protest discriminatory acts against you by filing a complaint. If the person with the authority to rent, sell, or deal with applicants or residents of a housing accommodation that you filed a claim against takes harmful actions against you because you filed the complaint or because you served as a witness or assisted another with their complaint, they are engaging in retaliation.

It is illegal for anyone to threaten, coerce, intimidate, or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or anyone assisting others who exercise that right:

These behaviors or actions could be evidence of retaliation:

  • Coercing a person orally, in writing, or by any other means, to deny or limit the benefits they would receive in connection with the sale or rental of housing; 

  • Taking revenge with harmful actions against a person who has complained, testified, or assisted in any action regarding a fair housing complaint to punish them for filing the complaint.

Even if the original allegation turns out to be unsupported, a retaliation complaint may be supported. Some examples of retaliation could include: 

  • Resident complains to the manager that she received a 10-day notice because of her race. The manager gets angry and gives her an eviction notice.

  • After a resident was a witness in a complaint investigation, the manager tells her he is ‘keeping an eye on her.’

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.

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

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