Partnership Status

The Law

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

Partnership status means being in a domestic partnership, a legal relationship permitted under the laws of the State and City of New York for couples that have a close and committed personal relationship. The Domestic Partnership Law recognizes the diversity of family configurations, including lesbian, gay, and unmarried heterosexual couples.

Partnership Status Discrimination

Partnership status discrimination could also be marital status or sexual orientation 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 partnership status, such as refusing to list both domestic partners on the lease.

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

  • Being denied an apartment application because the building owner rejects your or your partner’s domestic partnership status;
  • Being asked if you are married or intending to get married;
  • Refusing to renew a lease, or reducing services like turning off a unit’s electricity or not making repairs after learning that tenants were domestic partners; or,
  • Being told that all tenants cohabiting must be related by blood, marriage, or adoption and that the landlord needs to see documents to prove it.

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 of the Commission Infoline at (718) 722-3131.

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