Earlier this month, a New York City landlord with over 4,500 rental units was named in a New York discrimination lawsuit alleging that the landlord illegally discriminated against prospective tenants. According to a local news report, the landlord was engaging in “extensive and systematic” discrimination based on the race and family size of applicants.
The report discusses the findings of an investigation conducted by a New York non-profit organization that focuses on fair housing initiatives. The organization used volunteers to pretend that they were interested in renting an apartment from the landlord. Both white and black applicants were used. The white applicants reported ample vacancy and median rents around $1,450. However, the black applicants were treated differently, often being told that there was no vacancy in the building, and when a room was made available to rent, it was at the higher median price of around $1,575.
The landlord was also accused of turning down applicants who were using public assistance and also requiring families with young children to undergo extensive lead-testing. The article notes that the landlord agency was named in a lawsuit making similar claims 25 years ago, which settled out of court through a consent decree.
Discrimination Is Illegal in New York
In New York City, it is illegal to discriminate based on certain factors when selecting tenants. Indeed, the NYC Human Rights Law protects New York residents from discrimination that is based on age, sex, gender, national origin, race, family status, pregnancy, marital status, and disability. It is also illegal to discriminate based on the presence of children in a household, or based on a prospective tenant’s status as a victim of stalking or domestic violence.
Discrimination can take many forms and includes the following:
- refusing to rent an apartment, or charging different groups of people different monthly rents;
- advertising a preference for one group over another;
- steering certain individuals toward or away from certain housing;
- refusing to allow a reasonable accommodation for a tenant with a disability; and
- misrepresenting the availability of housing.
If a landlord is suspected of housing discrimination, a lawsuit can be filed against the landlord in court, seeking to compel the landlord to change its policy and allow a tenant to rent.
Have You Been a Victim of New York Housing Discrimination?
Being a victim of discrimination violates your basic human rights. If you have recently tried to rent a New York apartment but been denied based on what you believe to be a discriminatory reason, you may have a case against the landlord. At the Law Offices of Ira S. Newman, we represent clients in a wide range of New York discrimination cases, including New York housing discrimination and employment discrimination. We offer free consultations with prospective clients to discuss and assess their cases, with no obligation to continue forward with our representation. Call 800-206-7375 to schedule your consultation today.
See Additional Blog Posts:
New York Employers Will Soon Be Required to Provide Paid Family Leave, New York Business Litigation Attorney Blog, October 16, 2017.
College Student: I Was Forced to Prosecute My Rapist Alone, New York Business Litigation Attorney Blog, April 30, 2015.