Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Mortgage Lending Discrimination: NY AG's Report & Proposed Solutions

On October 31, 2023, the NY AG Letitia James released a report detailing racial disparities in homeownership and financing throughout NY while calling to enhance the state's anti-discrimination law, the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). 

The Report highlights that mortgage applicants of color are denied mortgages at nearly double the rate of white applicants, regardless of credit score, income, size of the loan, and other factors. Plus, they are more likely to be charged higher interest rates on their loans and less likely to be approved to refinance to lower rates. These higher costs total over $200 million extra to minorities. 

The Report calls for the strengthening the NYSHRL to explicitly cover disparate impact discrimination based on race, including increased enforcement against lenders. In fact, it has a 3 step plan:  

  1. Obtain increased $$ for government agencies to conduct fair lending work.
  2. Strengthen NYSHRL to prohibit lenders from engaging in discrimination any practice by requiring lenders to have a legitimate and nondiscriminatory justification for their actions. 
  3. Passing Senate Bill 795 to prohibit unfair business practices. 

If you'd like to read more about the report click here.

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:


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 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: with I.D. No. HRT-21-22-00001-P in the subject line. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

New NYS / Local Government Fair Housing Enforcement Obligations

As of 12/21/2021, all state agencies administering housing programs or enforcing housing laws and all localities administering housing programs and receiving funds from the state for such activities are now required to affirmatively further fair housing.

What this means is that the state and local governments will actively seek to create more diverse, inclusive communities. They will do this, according to the new law (S1353A), by:

  1. Identifying and overcoming patterns of residential segregation & housing discrimination;
  2. Eradicating racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty;
  3. Reducing disparities in access to opportunities;
  4. Eliminating disproportionate housing needs;
  5. Providing the public reasonable & regular opportunities to comment on fair housing issues & participate in the development & advancement of affirmative fair housing policy; &
  6. Encouraging & maintaining compliance with Article 15 of the Executive law & any other applicable anti-discrimination or fair housing law. 
While this all sounds grand, it's really just aspirational because there are no concrete actions contained in this law, except that an annual report will be available to the public. Only through calling government on the report, will concrete change really happen.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Housing Discrimination and Facebook

On Monday, Governor Cuomo called on the Department of Financial Services to investigate reports that state-regulated advertisers are using Facebook, Inc.'s advertising platform to discriminate against protected classes.

Real estate brokers and mortgage bankers are state regulated advertisers - you are warned.

Get into compliance today before it is too late - call Lieb Compliance at 646.216.8038 for an audit, policies and trainings.