If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination in housing in New York City based on your actual or perceived age, alienage or citizenship status, color, creed/religion, disability, family status, gender, gender identity or gender expression, lawful occupation, lawful source of income, marital status, national origin, partnership status, race, or sexual orientation, you may file a complaint with the Law Enforcement Bureau of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. The NYC Human Rights Law requires that the complaint be filed within one year of the last alleged act of discrimination.

You cannot file a complaint with the Commission if you have already filed a discrimination complaint with any other court or agency, including the NYS Division of Human Rights, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and any state or federal court.

Schedule an Appointment with the NYC Commission on Human Rights

To schedule an appointment with the Commission, call the Commission's Infoline at (718) 722-3131 or dial 311 and ask for the NYC Commission on Human Rights. When you visit the Commission, you will meet with a staff attorney to discuss the allegations of discrimination. If you are unable to visit the Commission's offices, alternative arrangements will be made. The Commission's services are free of charge. The Commission is located at 22 Reade Street, first floor, in Lower Manhattan.

Please bring photo identification to enter the Commission. To expedite the interview process, please bring all relevant information covered in the complaint, such as names, addresses, and phone numbers of the people or organizations you are charging, and the exact dates of the events.

Learn more.


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.’

Housing Court

Most situations considered in Housing Court are not based on discriminatory actions by either the tenant or the landlord and do not require remedy from the Fair Housing protections of the Human Rights Law. But, some can be discriminatory and end up in Housing Court.

  • For example, an owner may refuse a tenant’s Section 8 voucher toward rent payments in violation of the ‘lawful source of income’ protection for the tenant. Then if the owner begins eviction proceedings due to the nonpayment of rent, the owner’s action may be discriminatory.
  • An owner could begin proceedings toward eviction for a tenant who was called into military service in violation of the ‘lawful occupation’ provision of the Human Rights Law.
  • If you are in court for withholding rent payments because an owner has failed to provide services, you may believe that the failure to provide you services is based upon your membership in a protected class (race, creed, etc.). If you are in doubt about how to proceed, you should call the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
  • If an owner has failed to provide repairs to your apartment and you have been withholding rent, you may believe it is because of your national origin in violation of the Human Rights Law.

Frequently Asked Questions
Housing Court Terms