Cuomo announces state law prohibiting discrimination of tenants based on source of income

B’klyn judge appointed to redraw congressional boundaries of N.Y.
Photo courtesy Andrew Cuomo

New York State has outlawed housing discrimination based on the lawful source of a person’s income.

Source of income is often used by landlords as a pretext to discriminate against potential tenants who are single mothers, survivors of domestic abuse, veterans, minorities, elderly individuals or people with disabilities.

“Too often unscrupulous landlords unfairly block seniors, single mothers, survivors of domestic violence and other New Yorkers from renting a home simply because of where they get their income,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “That ends today. With this legislation, we will stop this discriminatory behavior once and for all and ensure every New Yorker has access to fair housing.”

Lawful sources of income include Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability, veteran’s benefits, and other government subsidies. The new law will enable New York families with such sources on income to more easily transition out of shelters, substandard housing, and concentrated areas of poverty by removing this key barrier to accessing housing.

State Senator Leroy Comrie said he was “heartened” that the new law, enacted in the state budget, contained major provisions from legislation he has long sponsored, Senate Bill 3011.

“Safe and affordable housing is among the most essential and fundamental building blocks in life and this new law protects the inherent right of our most vulnerable individuals and families to fully access the housing market with respect and dignity, sans economic bias,” Comrie said.

State Senator James Sanders agreed.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to have access to affordable housing if they can pay their rent through lawful sources of income, even if that means usine vouchers, Section * or other public assistance programs,” he said.

Assemblyman David Weprin explained how important the issue is.

“Source of income housing discrimination not only leaves New York families without a place to live but also isolates them from access to high-quality schools, hospitals, employment opportunites, and resources over time,” Weprin said. “It was imperative that we end housing discrimination based on the income source of a person in New York this year and I applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for making this important step that protects New York’s tenants.”

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