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.
Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation can also be gender, which includes a person’s gender identity, partnership status, disability (HIV status), or marital status.

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 sexual orientation, such as asking you about the nature of your relationship during an application process.

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

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

  • Being told that renting to you would violate a landlord’s religious practice or beliefs;

  • Being told that all tenants cohabiting must be related by blood or marriage – and that the landlord doesn’t recognize domestic partnerships or ‘gay marriages.’

  • Refusing to renew a lease or put both partners’ names on a lease, give receipts of rent payments, or reducing services such as turning off a unit’s electricity or not making repairs after learning a tenant’s sexual orientation;

  • Being asked questions, such as: “Are you two, like, together?” “Are you gay?” or if you are told, “No homosexuality in my building." 
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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