Rights and Responsibilities

The NYC Commission on Human Rights is a chartered City agency that enforces the NYC Human Rights Law. The Law prohibits discrimination in housing based on our actual or perceived age, race, color, disability, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, creed, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, family status, marital status, partnership status, lawful source of income, and lawful occupation. The Law also prohibits retaliation.

Who Is Liable

Any person with the authority to rent, sell, or deal with applicants for, or residents of, a housing accommodation may be liable for unlawful practices. This includes landlords, superintendents, rental and managing agents, real estate brokers and agents, and co-op and condominium board members. Lending institutions, such as banks and mortgage brokers, insurance companies, and appraisers may also be held liable for housing discrimination.

Newspapers that print discriminatory advertising may be held liable for publishing ads that convey discriminatory limitations. Learn about Real Estate Ads.

The Law outlines the unlawful practices based on the membership in a protected class:

Unlawful Practices

  • Refusing to sell, rent, or lease housing
  • Misrepresenting the availability of housing
  • Setting different terms, conditions, or privileges for the sale, rental, or lease of housing
  • Providing different housing services or facilities
  • Posting discriminatory advertising or marketing that indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on a protected class
  • Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability
  • Steering a potential homebuyer or renter to, or away from, an area
  • Pressuring, for profit, homeowners to seel by exploiting demographic changes (blockbusting)
  • Threatening, coercing, or intimidating individuals because they exercise their fair housing rights or assist others in doing so
  • Refusing to make a mortgage loan to a qualified applicant
  • Refusing to provide information regarding loans
  • Imposing different terms or conditions on a loan or credit card
  • Discriminating in appraising properties
  • Denying conventional mortgages in certain communities (redlining)

If you would like to attend a free workshop on the NYC Human Rights Law, call the Commission's Infoline at (718) 722-3131 or dial 311 and ask fo the NYC Commission on Human Rights.