Unlocking Doors. Breaking Down Barriers.
The neighborhood we live in has a fundamental impact on the doors to economic opportunity, the quality of education our children receive, and even access to greater healthcare options and better health outcomes. Too often, the barrier to living where we want is housing discrimination. Housing discrimination is an evil that hurts both its victims and society as a whole. It goes against our vision of a free society and its elimination is a New York State and national priority. Every New Yorker deserves an equal chance to fully participate in the State's economic, cultural and intellectual life. The New York State Human Rights Law exists to open doors and break down barriers caused by unlawful discrimination. The New York State Division of Human Rights and the United Stated Department of Housing and Urban Development have partnered to launch a public information campaign to educate New Yorkers about their rights to fair housing entitled “Unlocking Doors. Breaking Down Barriers.” The campaign includes social media advertising, billboards, newspaper advertisements, informational materials and videos, and educational events.
- What Does Fair Housing Mean?
- What is Source of Income Discrimination?
- What is Reasonable Accommodation in Housing?
- How are Emotional Support & Service Animals Covered in Housing?
- What is Sexual Harassment in Housing?
- What is Steering?
- Additional NYS Resources
- Fair Housing Month 2020
Fair housing laws allow everyone to have freedom of choice – and be free from discrimination - in deciding where to live. Housing discrimination seriously injures victims, causing them emotional and financial harm. There are strong national, state and local laws against housing discrimination. They provide many places to file complaints. The laws also afford many different forms of remedy to victims and to society, including monetary damages and fines. The laws give a court or administrative body the power to order violators to stop discriminating and to make up for past wrongdoing. Watch our video below to learn more about what fair housing means in New York State.
Fair Housing in New York State - Know Your Rights
On April 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation making it an unlawful to discriminate in housing on the basis of “lawful source of income.” Lawful sources of income include, but are not limited to: government housing assistance, including section 8 or any other type of voucher, social security benefits, child support, alimony or spousal maintenance, and much more. To educate New Yorkers about this change in the law, DHR has issued new guidance on source of income discrimination.
Fair Housing in New York State - Source of Income Discrimination
The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of a disability. The Law also requires that efforts be made to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities in housing, and specifically that: "a person with a disability be permitted to make reasonable modifications to the occupied premises, if the modifications are necessary to have full use and enjoyment of the premises; reasonable accommodations be made in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations are necessary to permit a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy the housing." Learn more by downloading DHR's guide to reasonable accommodation and disability rights.
Fair Housing in New York State - Reasonable Accommodation
People living with disabilities can sometimes need an emotional support animal to use and enjoy their home. Waiving a "no pet" policy could be a reasonable accommodation under the Human Rights Law. Guide, hearing, and service dogs that have been professionally trained, or are in the process of being professionally trained, are given broad protection under the law. A person with a disability can never be denied access to housing because they use a guide, hearing, or service dog. Learn more by downloading DHR's guide to reasonable accommodation and disability rights.
Fair Housing in New York State - Emotional Support & Service Animals
Sexual harassment in housing is prohibited as a form of sex discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law as well as other federal and local laws. The Human Rights Law applies to nearly all housing accommodations and anyone who sells, rents, or leases housing must follow the Law. Sexually harassing conduct can consist of unwanted verbal or physical sexual advances, sexually explicit statements, or discriminatory remarks that are offensive or objectionable to the recipient. Learn more by downloading DHR's new publication on sexual harassment in housing.
Fair Housing in New York State - Sexual Harassment
The Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in the rental or sale of housing. Steering or guiding prospective buyers or renters towards or away from certain neighborhoods, locations or buildings, based on 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 is prohibited by the law. Client preferences do not provide justification for discriminatory actions. Real estate professionals are directly liable for unlawful discriminatory actions regardless of whether they are taken at the request of a client.
Fair Housing in New York State - Steering
- DHR has published a guide to fair housing under the Human Rights Law.
- DHR has issued new guidance on source of income discrimination.
- Watch DHR's source of income discrimination event.
- Download DHR's guide to reasonable accommodation and disability rights.
- Download DHR's new publication on sexual harassment in housing.
- Visit the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
- Learn more about NYS Homes and Community Renewal's Fair Housing Matters initiative - survey deadline 9/18/20.
- Visit the NYS Homes and Community Renewal's Fair & Equitable Housing Office.
- Learn about thethe NYS Department of State's new real estate regulations to combat housing discrimination.
- The NYS Department of State has publishednew guidance for real estate license holders on fair housing.
- Real estate licensees must posta new Fair Housing and Anti-Discrimination Notice.
- Further information on the NYS Department of State's fair housing initiatives is available here.
On April 30, 2020, DHR hosted a Zoom event to commemorate Fair Housing Month. The program included a discussion of the most recent changes to the law and added protections within the last year. We also had an in-depth discussion around fair housing rights of tenants and homebuyers along with a focused session on housing rights for persons with disabilities. Speakers from New York State Homes and Community Renewal and the New York State Department of State presented about the fair housing protections their agencies offer. A copy of the presentation from the event is below. Visit our event page for video and additional resources from the program