Image from "No Longer Trapped at Home" video, showing an example of a Commission housing settlement
The NYC Commission on Human Rights enforces the City Human Rights Law, and protects individuals from discrimination in housing based on the protected classes under the Law, promoting equal opportunity and prohibiting discriminatory practices that unfairly limit the housing choices of protected groups or individuals.

The protected classes covered under the New York City Human Rights Law are:

  • Age
  • Alienage or Citizenship Status
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Gender Identity
  • Lawful Occupation
  • Lawful Source of Income (including housing subsidies): The term lawful source of income includes without limitation income derived from social security, or any form of federal, state or local public assistance or housing assistance including section 8 vouchers.
  • Marital or Partnership Status     
  • Race
  • Religion/Creed
  • National Origin
  • Pregnancy
  • The Presence of Children
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, and sex offenses
  • Status as a Veteran or Active Military Service Member

You are covered under the Law if you reside in an/a:

  • Apartment building or multiple family dwelling
  • Co-op
  • Condominium
  • Government-assisted housing
  • Residential hotel *. 
* SRO (Single Room Occupancy) and hotels may be considered public accommodations.

You are not covered by the Law if:

  • You are a resident of a two-family house where the owner or a member of the owner’s family resides in that house and the available housing accommodation was not advertised.
  • You rent a room or rooms in non-government assisted housing where the owner resides.

Unlawful practices based on an individual’s membership in a protected class include:

  • 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 (e.g., ‘no children’ or ‘married couples only’)
  • Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability
  • Steering a potential homebuyer or renter to, or away from, an area on the basis of race or national origin
  • Pressuring, for profit, homeowners to sell by exploiting ethnic, racial, or other demographic changes (blockbusting)
  • Threatening, coercing, or intimidating individuals because they exercise their fair housing rights or assist others in doing so

Unlawful lending and credit practices include:

  • Refusing to make a mortgage loan to a qualified applicant due to protected class
  • Refusing to provide information regarding loans due to protected class
  • Imposing different terms or conditions on a loan or credit card, such as different interest rates, points, or fees due to protected class
  • Discriminating in appraising properties due to protected class
  • Denying conventional mortgages in certain communities (redlining) due to protected class

Reasonable Accommodation for Persons with Disabilities in Housing:

  • The New York City Human Rights Law protects the rights of people with disabilities by requiring landlords, coops, and condominiums to make a reasonable accommodation for disabled tenants, shareholders, or owners.
  • A reasonable accommodation can be structural, such as a ramp at the building entrance to provide wheelchair access or installing grab bars in a bathroom.
  • A reasonable accommodation can also involve a policy change such as permitting a tenant who is blind or has a psychological disability to have a guide dog or companion animal, despite a building’s ‘no pets’ policy.
  • The Law also requires the landlord to pay for an accommodation if it is deemed reasonable – that is architecturally and financially feasible.