At our recent continuing education course, The Fair Housing Act, a student challenged our slideshow, which showed the list of protected classes. Specifically, they adamantly argued for the inclusion of age as a protected class. As explained then and reiterated now, there are multiple fair housing and discrimination laws of which real estate agents must be mindful. The course taught was the federal law, which does not expressly protect age. Nonetheless, New York has a law called the Human Rights Law that makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of age, among many other classes. However, the law does not apply the class of age to those under the age of 18, instead the class of familial status applies in those situations. Additionally, the law doesn't apply to housing restricted to those 55 years of age or older. Moreover, publicly assisted housing for the elderly is also exempted.
The message for real estate agents out there is that they need to consider a multitude of laws from Federal to State to Local (County, City, Town or Village) prior to practicing in a particular area.