What is prohibited under New York State Human Rights Laws?
I. DISCRIMINATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE, RENTAL, OR LEASING OF HOUSING
The Human Rights Law makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental, or leasing of housing because of a protected characteristic. Specifically, the law makes it illegal to do the following because of a protected characteristic: Refuse to sell, rent, or lease housing
Example: An owner refuses to sell a home to AsianAmericans.
Example: A woman receives child support from the father of her children, and with this support she is qualified to rent an available apartment. The landlord tells her that he does not take into account child support because fathers sometimes stop paying.
Example: A renter has the appearance and gender identity of a male, and checked off “male” on the application. The landlord later learns that the sex assigned to the renter at birth was female. The landlord tries to evict the renter, stating he lied on his application, and also harasses him to try to get him to leave. Discriminate in the terms, conditions, or privileges in the sale, rental, or lease of housing.
Example: A landlord requires higher security deposits from African-American families in connection with renting apartments.
Example: A homeowner decides to require a larger down payment from a Latino family in connection with the sale of a home
Discriminate in providing facilities or services in connection with the sale, rental, or lease of housing.
Example: A landlord refuses to allow Latino children to play at a playground
Example: A man is denied the use of fitness equipment available to other tenants because he receives governmental housing assistance to pay part of his rent.
Print or circulate a statement, advertisement, or publication expressing a limitation, specification, or discrimination in the sale, rental, or lease of housing.
Example: An advertisement for a vacant apartment expresses preference for a specific national origin..
Use an application for housing that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination in the sale, rental, or lease of housing
Example: A real estate applicat
on asks questions about a protected characteristic. Make any record or inquiry in connection with the prospective purchase, rental, or lease of housing that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination
Example: A landlord asks the religion of prospective tenants
Discriminate against a person with a vision impairment because of their use of a guide dog, or a person with hearing impairment because of their use of a hearing dog. Discriminate against a person with a disability because of their use of a service dog. Discriminate against a person with a disability because of their use of an emotional support animal, where the animal is needed to use and enjoy the premises.
II. RETALIATION, AIDING AND ABETTING, AND COERCION
The Human Rights Law also prohibits participating in discrimination or retaliating against someone for helping to enforce the Law. Specifically, the Law prohibits:
Aiding, abetting, inciting, compelling, or coercing someone to violate the Human Rights Law.
Example: A co-op board informs an owner that it will not approve a sale to an African-American buyer. (Should they actually vote to deny a sale because the buyer is of a protected class, the co-op board will be liable directly for discrimination, as will each member of the board who voted to deny)
Retaliating against someone for opposing housing discrimination, filing a complaint, or testifying or assisting in any enforcement action under the Law.
Example: A real estate agency fires an employee for reporting that a landlord refused to rent to her Latino client..
III. DISCRIMINATION BASED ON ASSOCIATION WITH MEMBERS OF A PROTECTED CLASS
It is unlawful to discriminate against an individual because of that individual’s known relationship with a member of a protected class under the Human Rights Law.
Example: A landlord refused to rent an apartment to a couple when he learns they are interracial.
IV. REAL ESTATE BROKERS, SALESPERSONS, AND EMPLOYEES; REAL ESTATE BOARDS
In addition to the above restrictions, the Human Rights Law adds additional obligations on real estate brokers, real estate salespersons and their employees. Specifically, it is illegal for them to:
Refuse to negotiate for the sale, rental, or lease of housing.
Example: A real estate agent refuses to negotiate with a person with a disability for the rental of housing.
Represent that housing is not available for sale, rental, or lease when it is available
Example: A real estate salesperson shows housing to a white person, but then tells a minority person that the same housing is not available for rental. It is also illegal for a real estate board to exclude or expel any person, or discriminate against a person in the terms, conditions, and privileges of membership on the board because of a protected characteristic.
Example: A lesbian locates an apartment she would like to rent. The landlord’s broker calls to tell her the apartment has been rented to someone else after she mentioned her wife. She find out through a friend that the apartment is available and the broker continues to show it to prospective tenants.
V. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS
In addition to prohibiting housing discrimination on the basis of disability, the Human Rights Law requires persons covered by the law to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities
Examples: A landlord makes an exception to a “no pet” policy to permit a tenant to keep an emotional support animal where the animal allows the person to use and enjoy their home.
Example: You rent an apartment in an apartment building and need to use a wheelchair to enter and leave your apartment. You cannot get up the steps at the front of the building without assistance of others. Your landlord may be required to provide you with a ramp or other reasonable means to permit you to access the building.