Federal, State and local Fair Housing Laws provide comprehensive protections from discrimination in housing. It is unlawful for any property owner, landlord, property manager or other person who sells, rents or leases housing, to discriminate based on certain protected characteristics, which include, but are not limited to race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, age, disability, marital status, lawful source of income or familial status. Real estate professionals must also comply with all Fair Housing Laws.
Real estate brokers and real estate salespersons, and their employees and agents violate the Law if they:
• Discriminate based on any protected characteristic when negotiating a sale, rental or lease, including representing that a property is not available when it is available.
• Negotiate discriminatory terms of sale, rental or lease, such as stating a different price because of race, national origin or other protected characteristic.
• Discriminate based on any protected characteristic because it is the preference of a seller or landlord.
• Discriminate by “steering” which occurs when a real estate professional guides prospective buyers or renters towards or away from certain neighborhoods, locations or buildings, based on any protected characteristic.
• Discriminate by “blockbusting” which occurs when a real estate professional represents that a change has occurred or may occur in future in the composition of a block, neighborhood or area, with respect to any protected characteristics, and that the change will lead to undesirable consequences for that area, such as lower property values, increase in crime, or decline in the quality of schools.
• Discriminate by pressuring a client or employee to violate the Law.
• Express any discrimination because of any protected characteristic by any statement, publication, advertisement, application, inquiry or any Fair Housing Law record.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FILE A COMPLAINT
If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination you should file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR). Complaints may be filed by:
• Downloading a complaint form from the DHR website: www.dhr.ny.gov;
• Stop by a DHR office in person, or contact one of the Division’s offices, by telephone or by mail, to obtain a complaint form and/or other assistance in filing a complaint. A list of office locations is available online at: https://dhr.ny.gov/contact-us, and the Fair Housing HOTLINE at (844)-862-8703.
You may also file a complaint with the NYS Department of State, Division of Licensing Services. Complaints may be filed by:
• Downloading a complaint form from the Department of State’s website
• Stop by a Department’s office in person, or contact one of the Department’s offices, by telephone or by mail, to obtain a complaint form.
• Call the Department at (518) 474-4429.
There is no fee charged to you for these services. It is unlawful for anyone to retaliate against you for filing a complaint.