Fair Housing

Fair Housing

No one may take any of the following actions in the sale and rental of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, familial status, disability, or source of income:

  • Refuse to rent or sell housing
  • Refuse to negotiate for housing
  • Make housing unavailable
  • Deny a dwelling
  • Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
  • Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
  • Provide different housing services or facilities
  • For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent
  • Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing

New Yorkers Are Protected from Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Lawful Source of Income 

The New York State Human Rights Law was amended, effective April 12, 2019, to protect those who rely on any lawful source of income from discrimination in housing. 

What sources of income are protected? 

Lawful sources of income include, but are not limited to: 

  • child support 
  • alimony or spousal maintenance 
  • foster care subsidies 
  • social security benefits 
  • federal, state, or local public assistance 
  • federal, state, or local housing assistance 
  • any other form of lawful income

Who are persons who may not discriminate? 

All housing providers and real estate professionals are required not to discriminate. These include: 

  • Owners, landlords 
  • Managing agents or companies 
  • Co-op boards and condominium associations 
  • Tenants seeking to sublet 
  • Real estate brokers and salespersons 
  • Any employee or agent of the above 

What actions are discriminatory when based on a person’s lawful source of income? 

  • Refusal to sell, rent or lease or otherwise deny public or private housing 
  • Providing different terms, conditions or privileges, or denying the use of facilities or services, of any public or private housing 
  • Making any advertisement, publication, statement, inquiry, record, or using a form of application for public or private housing which expresses any intent to limit or discriminate 
  • A real estate professional’s refusal to negotiate for sale, rental or lease

It is not unlawful to ask about income, only to discriminate based on lawful sources of income. 

Housing providers may ask about income, and about the source of income, and require documentation, in order to determine a person’s ability to pay for the housing accommodation but must accept all lawful sources of income equally.

A publicly assisted housing accommodation may include eligibility criteria in statements, advertisements, publications or applications, and may make inquiry or request information to the extent necessary to determine eligibility. Such eligibility criteria must be only those required by federal or state law or programs.