NY AG Roots Out Income Discrimination

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

The New York Attorney General’s office has launched a new complaint form to identify housing discrimination based on source of legal in-come. The online complaint portal is available at https://ag.ny.gov/source-income-discrimination-form. In April 2019, the New York Human Rights Law was amended to make lawful source of income discrimination illegal across New York State. The law applies to anyone attempting to rent or sell a housing unit, including owners, brokers, realtors, co-op boards and condo associations. The only exceptions to the rules are (1) one- or two-family owner-occupied homes; (2) room rentals in properties such as college dormitories where all residents are of the same sex; and (3) housing intended for seniors. Not only does the law prohibit refusing to rent based on a prospective tenant’s lawful income, but also housing ads that discourage applicants who receive housing vouchers or providing different terms, privileges or facilities to residents based on source of income. Nevertheless, according to Attorney General Letitia James “landlords, rental agents, and brokers continue to post ads specifying that they will not accept vouchers or housing assistance – an act that is blatantly unlawful and discriminatory.” Landlords often target those whose income comes from sources other than employment, including public assistance, Section 8 vouchers, child sup-port, or social security benefits. The Attorney General’s office designed the new portal to help it hold these bad actors accountable.

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