Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in the sale, rental or financing of a dwelling, and other housing-related transactions, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or family status. The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibit discrimination in residential real estate and credit transactions, such as mortgage applications and loan rates. The FHA and American with Disabilities Act (ADA) require that multi-family housing be designed and constructed with handicap accessibility, and that disabled tenants be provided with reasonable accommodations.
Housing, mortgage and credit discrimination laws apply to:
- Property managers
- Real estate agents
- Mortgage brokers
- Lending and credit institutions
- Building contractors
Owners, architects and builders must design and construct multi-family dwellings (generally those with four of more units) and buildings with public accommodations (such as restaurants and retail centers) in accordance with handicap accessibility regulations. These include:
- Accessible entrances and routes
- Accessible common areas
- Handicap parking spaces
- Usable doors, doorways and thresholds
- Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, etc.
- Reinforced walls for bathroom grab bars
- Open floor plan bathrooms and kitchens
Landlords and property managers must provide disabled tenants with reasonable accommodations. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities, such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, breathing, learning, working, performing manual tasks, or ability to care for one's self. Disabled tenants have the right to request modifications to their apartments or reasonable accommodations.
Refusal to Rent
A landlord in a covered multi-family dwelling cannot refuse to rent or set different rental terms on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status. For example, a landlord cannot refuse to rent because a tenant has children under the age of 18 (with the exception of certain housing communities where 80 percent or more of the tenants are age 55 or older).
Damages and Penalties
Housing discrimination laws generally require that a grievance first be filed with a federal or state administrative agency such as HUD. Claims not handled through administrative proceedings can be filed as a private lawsuit in federal or state court. The attorneys at Dreyer Boyajian LLP are experienced at litigating housing claims, such as racial discrimination, in both federal and state administrative proceedings as well as court actions.
Compensation for housing discrimination may include actual damages, pain and suffering, punitive damages, injunctive or equitable relief, civil penalties, and reasonable attorneys fees and costs.
Contact Our Attorneys In Albany
The New York housing discrimination lawyers at Dreyer Boyajian LLP, take the time to give your case their personal attention to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us or call us toll free at 866-292-1582 to discuss your case and set an appointment for your initial consultation.