Close up of black man hands signing document on a desk at home

Fair Housing Complaint

Fair Housing Laws: How We Are Protected

Federal, state, and local fair housing laws work to ensure that all individuals have equal housing opportunities. The Federal Fair Housing Act, the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York City Human Rights Law, and various local laws, prohibit discrimination by housing providers (including owners, real estate agents, managing agents, building superintendents, cooperative and condominium boards) and lenders (including banks and mortgage companies).

    • The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on a person’s race, familial status (presence of children under age 18), color, national origin, religion, disability (physical or mental), or sex.
    • The New York State Human Rights Law makes it unlawful to discriminate based upon a person or group’s race, creed, color, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, age, sex, marital status, lawful source of income or familial status of such person or persons in all forms of housing, with three main exceptions:
    • One or two owner-occupied family buildings
    • Room rentals in housing for individuals of the same sex; and
    • Room rentals in owner-occupied housing

Prohibited Actions

Fair Housing Laws apply to the sale or rental of housing and to mortgage lending and identify unlawful discriminatory practices to include the following:

    • Refusing to rent, sell finance, insure, or negotiate for housing
    • Making housing unavailable to a prospective homebuyer or renter
    • Setting different terms or conditions, or providing unequal services
    • Printing or circulation a discriminatory advertisement
    • Refusing to make or provide information for a loan, or imposing different terms or conditions
    • Harassing, threatening, intimidating, or coercing anyone, including sexual harassment

Those with Disabilities Are Protected

Under the fair housing laws, a landlord may not:

    • Refuse to make reasonable modifications to a dwelling or common use area to accommodate a person’s disability
    • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in policies or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing

Any multifamily housing built after 1991 must comply with accessibility requirements to ensure that public and common use areas and units are accessible for people with disabilities.


Filing a Complaint

If you have questions or believe you have been a victim of housing discrimination, the following agencies may be able to help.