Alienage or Citizenship Status

The Law

It is illegal to be denied a housing opportunity because of your alienange or citizenship status.

Alienage or citizenship status means the immigration status or citizenship of any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.

Alienage or Citizenship Status Discrimination

Discrimination means being treated differently by any person with the authority to rent, sell, or deal with applicants or residents of a housing accommodation. For example, a building owner or representative (such as a superintendent) is discriminating if they treat you differently because of your actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status, such as asking you for a green card before showing you an apartment.

These behaviors, policies, or practices could be evidence of discrimination:

  • Being denied an apartment application because the building owner is uncomfortable with a prospective tenant’s actual or perceived immigration or citizenship status, whether it is you, a partner, or a family member;
  • Being told that you need to meet additional eligibility verification standards and provide additional forms of identification documents or fill out additional paperwork;
  • Refusing to accept a document from you that reasonably appears to be genuine and belonging to you or refusing a document produced for identification because it has a future expiration date; or,
  • Being asked questions, such as: “Are you sure you are a citizen? You sound foreign. ” or if you are told, “I would prefer to rent to US citizens.”

The Law also prohibits retaliation if you file a discrimination complaint against someone, or act as a witness for someone else who files a complaint.

File a Complaint

If you believe you are the victim of housing discrimination, contact the NYC Commission on Human Rights by calling 311 or the Commission Infoline at (718) 722-3131.

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