Proposed State Law Would Address Source-of-Income Housing Discrimination
Some state lawmakers in Albany are considering amending the state human rights law to make it illegal to discriminate against tenants based on where they receive their income. The change would include a “lawful source of income” provision that would protect people using government assistance or other forms of non-wage income to pay their rent from housing discrimination.
While some localities, such as New York City, have established local laws that prevent this from happening, no such law has ever existed at the state level. In New York City, it’s illegal for owners to refuse to rent to current or prospective tenants with public assistance vouchers. Source-of-income discrimination has been illegal in NYC since 2008, when then-Council Member Bill de Blasio sponsored a bill to make it a violation of the NYC Human Rights Law, one of the strongest city antidiscrimination laws in the nation.
However, New York City’s laws allow profiling at buildings with six or fewer units. The city law captures the majority of New York City’s housing stock, but neglects large swaths of low-income areas, such as East New York and parts of the Bronx, where two- and three-family rental properties are common. A new State Assembly bill, introduced by Brooklyn Assemblyman Walter Mosley, would outlaw all income discrimination, except in cases where the two-family buildings are owner-occupied.