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Showing posts with label Source of Income. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Source of Income. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

New Housing Discrimination Notice on Source of Income Discrimination Proposed - Comment Period Open

On May 25, 2022, the NYS Division of Human Rights proposed 9 NYCRR 466.16, which will require any entity that administers any public housing program or assistance to provide a detailed notice of rights from source of income discrimination. The enabling statute, Executive Law 170-e, explains that an entity that administers includes "any state, county, municipal or other governmental entity. . . or any agency or instrumentality of such an entity, and any public or private non-profit entity authorized to administer any public housing program or assistance."


Specifically, "[t]he notice is to advise individuals of their right to nondiscrimination based on lawful source of income in housing pursuant to Human Rights Law section 296.2-a (publicly-assisted housing) or Human Rights Law section 296.5 (private housing)" pursuant to the regulation. 


The notice must be provided as follows:

  • Current recipients must receive notice within 30 days after the effective date of the regulation;
  • Future recipients must receive notice "upon notification such individual qualifies for the voucher or assistance"; 
  • "In writing, and in 14 point... font";
  • Electronically is permissible by a link to the notice; &
  • On all websites administered by the entity. 

The required notice will look like this:

KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AS A RECIPIENT OF HOUSING ASSISTANCE

By law, you are protected from housing discrimination.

The New York State Human Rights Law makes it unlawful to discriminate in housing on the basis of your source of income. This includes all forms of housing assistance (like Section 8 vouchers, HUD VASH vouchers, New York City FHEPS and others), as well as all other lawful sources of income including: Federal, state, or local public assistance, social security benefits, child support, alimony or spousal maintenance, foster care subsidies, or any other form of lawful income.

Housing providers who are covered by the Human Rights Law include landlords, property managers, real estate professionals like brokers, tenants seeking to sublet, and anyone working on their behalf.

Housing providers are not allowed to refuse to rent to you because you receive housing assistance. They are also not allowed to charge you higher rent, or offer you worse terms in a lease, or deny you access to facilities or services that other tenants receive.

Housing providers are not allowed to make any statement or advertisement that indicates housing assistance recipients do not qualify for the housing. For example, a housing provider cannot say they do not accept housing vouchers or that they do not participate in a program such as Section 8.

It is lawful for housing providers to ask about income, and about the source of that income, and require documentation, but only in order to determine a person’s ability to pay for the housing accommodation or eligibility for a certain program. A housing provider must accept all lawful sources of income equally. It is unlawful to use any form of screening of applicants that has the intent or result of screening out those receiving housing assistance.

If you believe that you have discriminated against by a housing provider with regard to your lawful source of income, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights.

How to File a Complaint
A complaint must be filed with the Division within one year of the alleged discriminatory act or in court within three years of the alleged discriminatory act. To file a complaint, download a complaint form from www.dhr.ny.gov. For more information or assistance in filing a complaint, contact one of the Division’s offices, or call the Division’s toll-free HOTLINE at 1 (888) 392-3644. Your complaint will be investigated by the Division, and if the Division finds probable cause to believe discrimination has occurred, your case will be sent to a public hearing, or the case may proceed in state court. There is no fee charged to you for these services. Remedies in successful cases may include a cease-and-desist order, provision of housing that was denied, and monetary compensation for the harm you suffered. You can obtain a complaint form on the website, or one can be e-mailed or mailed to you. You can also call or e-mail a Division regional office. The regional offices are listed on the website. 


If you have thoughts about this notice or this regulation, you have until July 24, 2022 to comment by emailing: caroline.downey@dhr.ny.gov with I.D. No. HRT-21-22-00001-P in the subject line. 



Monday, May 23, 2022

Housing Discrimination FAQs

Is real estate discrimination illegal?

Yes. Discrimination in real estate is illegal throughout the United States. In some states, like New York, there are even greater protections, rights, and damages available to victims of housing discrimination. You are entitled to compensation whether you were discriminated against by a seller, landlord, tenant co-op, condo, HOA, lender, real estate broker, salesperson, or property manager.

 

Does real estate discrimination only apply to housing?

No. Real Estate discrimination laws apply to both housing and places of public accommodation. Examples include shopping centers, professional offices, retail stores, recreational facilities, service centers, and educational institutions.

 

Can I sue for housing discrimination?

Yes. Not only is it possible to sue for real estate discrimination, but Lieb at Law, P.C.  has helped countless individuals recover compensatory damages and punitive damages for the emotional distress inflicted by this unlawful act. If you or a loved one were discriminated against because of your protected status or class, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney who will fight to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.  

 

What qualifies as discrimination?

Discrimination is classified as unfair treatment to an individual because of their protected status or class. These statuses/classes vary throughout the United States, but may include race, ethnic background, visible traits (hair texture, hairstyle, donning of religious garments or items), color, national origin, citizenship status, alienage status, immigration status, lawful source of income (subsidy recipient status), occupation, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (transgender status), domestic violence victim status, stalking victim status, sex offense victim status, familial status, pregnancy, presence of children, handicap (disability), age, military status, uniformed service, veteran status, first responder status, arrest record, and sealed conviction record.

 

Can a real estate / housing provider change the terms of a lease or contract based on my protected class?

No. The law prevents real estate / housing providers from changing the terms, conditions, privileges, and/or availability of property based on your protected class status. It requires real estate brokers / salespersons to give you written disclosures that advise you of your rights. It prevents you from being treated differently from others where only the terms of your offer matter, not who you are.

 

Are handicapped individuals entitled to housing accommodations?

Yes. If you are handicapped or disabled, you are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications to allow you to equally use and enjoy the property. Your actual diagnosis does not need to be revealed and can remain confidential if you seek an accommodation or modification. In addition, the cost of the accommodation cannot be charged to you. In places like New York City, the cost of modifications cannot be charged to you either.

 

What are common examples of disability cases concerning housing discrimination?

The most common handicap and disability cases that we see involve service animals or emotional support animals in no pet properties. Other types of cases include parking issues, egress ramps for mobility impairments, and additional failure-to-accommodate cases. When it comes to accommodating the rights of handicapped and disabled individuals, providing access is essential.

 

Can I be discriminated against based on my source of income?

Whether you receive subsidies, like Section 8 (Housing Choice Vouchers), or are unemployed and receive child support, disability, spousal support, or have a trust fund, your source of income cannot impact your housing choices. The law protects you from offensive signage, improper applications, and/or wrongful questionnaires if they inquire about your employment status, request your W-2, or solicit a letter of employment. Where you get your rent money is your business and yours alone.

 

Can I be retaliated against if I proceed with a discrimination lawsuit?

Don't be afraid to speak-up. If you are advancing a fair housing and/or anti-discrimination right, you are protected from retaliation. Even if it is ultimately found that you were not discriminated against, you can be compensated for facing unlawful coercion, intimidation, threats, or other types of interference with your anti-discrimination rights. It also applies if you are an ally who is aiding and/or encouraging someone else to exercise their rights to be free from discrimination.

 

What happens if I win my housing discrimination case?

As the victim, you can recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, and your attorneys’ fees. The perpetrator can lose their license (if applicable), be required to take trainings, be made to pay fines, and be ordered to stop their offensive behavior. Working with a top discrimination attorney affords you the best possible chance at a successful outcome to your case. If you or a loved one has been treated unfairly and is in need of legal assistance, contact our team today.




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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Attention Landlords - Source of Income Discrimination Lawsuits are Coming as of 9/14/2021

On July 16, 2021, new Executive Law 170-e was signed into law and requires that all administrators of housing assistance (governmental / nonprofits) ensure that "individuals who have applied for and are eligible to receive such assistance, payment, subsidy or credit are informed, in writing, of their rights and remedies available under law, with regard to lawful source of income discrimination.”


The law is effective as of September 14, 2021 and that is an important deadline for landlords, brokers, and property managers to get up to speed on the rules to avoid source of income discrimination in their ranks.


To illustrate, a housing provider who requests a credit score from a voucher recipient could be discrimination, a housing provider who demands a minimum income from a voucher recipient could be discrimination, and a housing provider who makes receipt of a voucher a precondition to seeing units could be discriminating.


Do you have policies in place to avoid your team discriminating and subjecting you to a major lawsuit??


More so, those policies better include the forthcoming regulations that the State Division of Human Rights is going to promulgate to particularize this new law.


Are you ready? 






Friday, October 30, 2020

NYC Housing Discrimination Notice Law Ready for Mayor's Signature

On October 29, 2020, the NYC City Council approved a new law that requires the Department of Social Services to provide a letter to applicants about their rights to be free from source of income discrimination. 

This is yet another reminder that landlords and brokers need to understand that source of income discrimination is illegal and can subject them to large fines / judgments, loss of licensing, and terrible public relations issues. 

Landlords and brokers should review the NYC Commission on Human Right's Best Practices for Licensed Salespersons and Brokers to Avoid Source of Income Discrimination and revise their applications, leases, policy manuals, and trainings to reflect this new expected law. 


For help, contact Lieb Compliance


The new law adds new §21-141.1 to the Administrative Code as follows:

Information regarding lawful source of income discrimination. a. Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings: CityFHEPS. The term “CityFHEPS” means the city fighting homelessness and eviction prevention supplement program established pursuant to chapter 10 of title 68 of the rules of the city of New York or any successor program. Covered entity. The term “covered entity” means the owner, lessor, lessee, sublessee, assignee, or managing agent of, or other person having the right to sell, rent or lease or approve the sale, rental or lease of a housing accommodation, constructed or to be constructed, or an interest therein, or any agent or employee thereof, who is subject to the prohibition on discrimination based on lawful source of discrimination pursuant to subdivision 5 of  section 8-107. Lawful source of income. The term “lawful source of income” has the meaning as set forth in section 8-102. Shopping letter. The term “shopping letter” means a letter issued by the department to assist a household in its housing search that identifies the household as potentially eligible for CityFHEPS and lists the maximum rent. b. The department shall provide written notice regarding the protections of section 8-107 related to lawful source of income at the time that a CityFHEPS applicant receives a shopping letter. Such notice shall be developed by the New York city commission on human rights pursuant to paragraph p of subdivision 5 of section 8-107 in consultation with the department.

It also amends §8-107(5) by adding new paragraph (p) as follows:

For purposes of this paragraph, the term “CityFHEPS” means the city fighting homelessness and eviction prevention supplement program established pursuant to chapter 10 of title 68 of the rules of the city of New York or any successor program. The commission shall develop and disseminate a written notice of protections of this subdivision related to lawful source of income. The notice shall be made available to the department of social services for use in accordance with section 21-141.1. The notice shall include, at a minimum, the following information:

1. Examples of different forms of lawful source of income; 

2. A description of covered entities required not to discriminate on the basis of lawful sources of income;

3. Examples of actions that may indicate discrimination based on lawful source of income in violation of title 8, such as refusing to accept lawful source of income for rent payment, publishing any type of advertisement that indicates a refusal to accept any lawful source of income, and refusing or delaying repairs because a person uses any lawful source of income for rent payment, publishing any type of advertisement that indicates a refusal to accept any lawful source of income,  and any additional actions landlords or brokers use to unlawfully discriminate against a person on the basis of their using any lawful source of income;

4. A statement that it is illegal for covered entities to refuse to accept a CityFHEPS subsidy for payment of rent or a security deposit voucher in buildings subject to the prohibition on discrimination on the basis of lawful source of income pursuant to section 8-107;

5. A statement that it is illegal for covered entities to request additional payments for rent, a security deposit or broker’s fee because an individual receives rental assistance;

6. A statement that it is illegal for covered entities to publish any type of advertisement that indicates a refusal to accept rental assistance;

7. A statement that it is illegal for landlords to refuse or delay making repairs to an individual’s unit because such individual pays rent with a CityFHEPS subsidy;

8. A statement that an individual has the right to be free from discriminatory, harassing or threatening behavior or comments based on such individual’s receipt of or application for CityFHEPS;

9. Directions on how to contact the commission, the department of social services’ source of income discrimination unit, the state division of human rights and the office of the state attorney general;

10. A description of potential remedies available at the commission if a covered entity is found to have engaged in discrimination based on lawful source of income; and

11. Any other information deemed appropriate by the commissioner and the commission in consultation with the department of social services.

Upon the Mayor's signature, the law will take effect 180 days thereafter. 




Friday, July 17, 2020

Security Deposit Voucher Recipients PROTECTED by Source of Income Discrimination Laws

The NYS Appellate Division recently clarified that "[t]he fact that the security vouchers are a guarantee of payment, rather than a cash payment, does not render them not 'income,' as they are an item of value, worth a payment of up to one month's rent on the tenant's behalf to compensate for unpaid rent or damages to an apartment."

Landlords, brokers, and property managers be warned - you cannot deny a prospective tenant based upon the source of their money for their security deposit as well as for their rent.

Click to read the full Appellate decision, Estates NY Real Estate Servs. LLC v City of New York.

Discrimination lawsuits are everywhere, but they are easy to avoid so long as you treat everyone equally irrespective of their membership in a protected class.

If you get sued for discrimination, lawyer-up fast and watch what you say. Many defendants dig their grave when they get sued for discrimination by acting irrationally. Protect yourself and your company now with trainings at liebcompliance.com


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Source of Income Discrimination now banned in all of New York State


Source of income discrimination is now prohibited in all of New York State as a result of Governor Cuomo’s signing of the New York State FY 2020 Budget. The Budget amends the New York State Human Rights Law or Section 292 of the Executive Law to add and define “lawful source of income” as a protected class.

The term “lawful source of income” shall include, but not be limited to, “child support, alimony, foster care subsidies, income derived from social security, or any form of federal, state, or local public assistance or housing assistance including, but not limited to, section 8 vouchers, or any other form of housing assistance payment or credit whether or not such income or credit is paid or attributed directly to a landlord, and any other forms of lawful income.” Exec. Law §292(36).

Prior to Governor Cuomo’s signing of the Budget, source of income discrimination was already prohibited in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties, among others. It is important to note that as a result of the new law, the cooperative and condominium exemptions in Westchester County are no longer applicable.