The NYC Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) are charged with protecting and providing fair housing in the City of New York. The two agencies collaborated on a campaign to inform New Yorkers about their Fair Housing rights and responsibilities.
All New Yorkers deserve fair and equal access to housing. The NYC Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in private and public housing, land, and commercial spaces in New York City. This means that any person sellling, renting, or leasing (including landlords, superintendents, building managers, brokers, and relators) cannot discriminate because of a person's actual or perceived protected status under the law.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York City Commission on Human Rights launched an outreach campaign to remind New Yorkers that they have a right to live peacefully in their homes - free from harassment and discrimination. The Commission continues to work tirelessly to ensure that everyone has fair and equal access to housing.
We are highlighting stories of New Yorkers who have faced discrimination and obtained help from the Commission. We hope others who have been discriminated against are encouraged to reach out to us.
Ms. Reid, a full-time city worker, and her children, were displaced by a fire in a neighboring unit which destroyed her home. Despite having perfect credit, excellent references, and a positive rental payment history her supplementary Section 8 voucher was repeatedly denied, forcing her older children to stay with family and friends, and forcing Ms. Reid and her youngest child to commute to the Bronx from Long Island every day for 9 months. She contacted the Commission on Human Rights about her repeated housing denials, and the Commission, along with HPD, helped Ms. Reid secure housing for her and her children. They moved in just in time for Christmas and are now all together as a family again.
Gianna Desir is a transwoman who was searching for a new apartment after her landlord refused to renew her lease when she began her transition. She was referred to Henry Walter, a broker with access to multiple apartments that would suit Ms. Upon meeting Ms. Desir Walter demeaned her stating her could not rent her an apartment “near people or children,” suggested that she live in a basement, and sexually harassed her. Ultimately, he denied her an apartment, stating her gender identity as a transwoman as the reason. Ms. Desir filed with the Commission, and, proceeded through to a hearing, was awarded $50,000 in emotional distress damages and fined Walter $25,000 in civil penalties as well as mandated NYC Human Rights Law Training and postings. Walter did not participate at any point in the process, however, should he decide to engage the Commission has offered a reduction in civil penalties if he agrees to engage in restorative justice work.
Gwenda Shaw is a tenant who uses a wheelchair. Her landlord repeatedly refused her requested accommodation of an access ramp at the front door of the building and up the steps to her first-floor apartment, making it extremely difficult for her to leave her apartment, or regain access to it should she go outside. Ms. Shaw brought her case to the Commission, which settled with the management company, Sajo Realty, for $50,000 in emotional distress damages and a $35,000 civil penalty. Further, the company installed access ramps on both sides of the building’s door, installed a chair lift at the steps to Ms. Shaw’s apartment, and renovated Ms. Shaw’s apartment to make it more accessible to her. Sajo Realty attended training on the NYC Human Rights Law and posted NYC Human Rights Law postings in all 6 of their buildings.
Fill out our Report Discrimination form or call 311 and ask for "Human Rights."