Fair Housing and Accessibility
What is discrimination?
Discrimination in housing is against the law. The Fair Housing Law states that individuals cannot be denied housing (sale, lease or rental) on the basis of:
- Race or skin color
- Ethnic or national origin
- Gender status or expression
- Marriage status
- Being a family with children under 18 years of age
- Sexual orientation
- Citizenship or Alienage Status
- Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse or Stalking
A person has the right to live in the home of his or her choice and that he or she can afford. The Fair Housing Laws and Fair Lending Laws make it illegal for any persons involved in your housing search to discriminate against you. This includes advertises, appraisers, bankers and home inspectors. They are all required to give equal treatment to all home seekers. The law also prohibits real estate offices, their brokers and agents from discriminating. They must treat all customers equally. Co-ops and condominiums have the same responsibility to the buyers and sellers not to discriminate.
How to File a Discrimination Complaint
The New Rochelle Human Rights Commission is empowered to conduct educational and outreach effort in the City, including those related to fair housing. The commission refers fair housing complaints it receives to the Westchester County Human Rights Commission, which has a much greater degree of power (including power to issue subpoenas and to issue fines). Additionally, the County's Human Rights Commission can provide protection to a greater number of protected classes, by virtue of the County's more comprehensive fair housing law.
If a formal complaint is necessary, a number of steps will take place. Your complaint will be reviewed and investigated. Communications with the source of your complaint will be held in order to address your concerns and to insure a fair and equitable process. A mediation conference may be held in order to avoid any further legal proceedings. However, if the mediation is unsuccessful the matter may be forwarded for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
HUD Housing Complaint Process
You can read the federal Fair Housing Act and learn how to file a Housing Discrimination Complaint from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website "Fair Housing - It's Your Right". Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at 800-669-9777(voice) or 800-927-9275 (TTTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to Fair Housing And Equal Opportunity Website or by downloading HUD's free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. In addition, individuals may contact DOJ at 800-896-7743 or they may email DOJ.