Mayor Signs Bills Strengthening Income Discrimination Laws
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed into law Intro. 1339-A, which requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to provide information to CityFHEPS rental assistance applicants about income discrimination at the time an applicant receives a “shopping letter” from DSS. CityFHEPS is a rental assistance supplement to help individuals and families find and keep housing.
The notice must provide information about protections under the NYC Human Rights Law related to discrimination on the basis of a person’s lawful source of income and use of rental vouchers. Examples of actions that may indicate discrimination include:
- Refusing to accept lawful source of income for rent payment (unemployment benefits, child support, alimony, foster care subsidies, Social Security, or any other form of federal, state, or local public assistance or housing assistance)
- Publishing any type of advertisement that indicates a refusal to accept any lawful source of income
- Refusing or delaying repairs because a person uses any lawful source of income for rent payment
- Refusing to accept a CityFHEPS subsidy for payment of rent or a security deposit voucher
The mayor also signed Intro. 2082-A into law. This bill expands the prohibition of income discrimination by landlords of small buildings (one to five units). The bill also amends the definition of “lawful source of income” to clarify that the term encompasses other types of lawful income that low-income New Yorkers may have access to, including, but not 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.”