The Law

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

Race refers to the skin color, hair texture, facial, and other physical features associated with a racial or ethnic group. Your actual or perceived racial and/or ethnic identification may be the basis for discriminatory actions by others. Race discrimination is closely associated with discrimination based on skin color. 

Race 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. Those discriminating based on race use it as an indicator of their assumptions about a person’s intelligence, social status, education, income, and/or other characteristics. 

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

  • Being denied a loan when your co-worker of another race with the same job, family composition, and years of employment got a loan from the same bank;
  • Getting verbal warnings from the building superintendent when you play your music after 8 pm when the people of another race in the apartment above you regularly play their music until midnight; 
  • Being told by the seller’s agent that she has nothing else in your price range to show you after realizing only when at the door of the condo that she doesn’t have a key; 
  • Being shown homes only in the same neighborhood where you conform to the prevailing racial population, although you answer ads and ask to see homes in another -- an illegal practice known as steering; or,
  • The building superintendent makes offhand racial comments and responds grudgingly to your repair requests.

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.

Back to Who Is Protected.