The Law

It is illegal to be denied a housing opportunity because of your gender.

Gender refers to an individual’s actual or perceived sex (male, female) and includes a person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior, or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.

Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination can also be sexual harassment if a housing provider, managing agent, or superintendent offers you benefits in exchange for sexual favors or you are subjected to unwelcome sexual conduct like asking you personal questions about your social or sexual life, pressuring you for dates, or engaging in unwanted sexual teasing, touching, jokes, or remarks.

Discrimination based on gender can also be marital status, sexual orientation, partnership status, or family 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) treats you differently because of your gender, such as raising the advertised rent or expressing a preference for a gender during an application process.

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

  • Being denied an apartment application because the building owner is uncomfortable with your actual or perceived gender identity;
  • Being told that renting to a transgender person would violate a landlord’s religious practice or beliefs;
  • Refusing to renew a lease, or, reducing services such as turning off a unit’s electricity or not making repairs after being denied sexual favors;
  • Being asked questions, such as: “Are you married?” or, if you are told “The owner prefers to rent to single men rather than single women because, you know, they make more money."

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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