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Westchester County, New York Discrimination Law Update

On June 14, 2010, the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed legislation that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of “source of income” under Westchester County’s Fair Housing Law. Westchester County joins other jurisdictions including New York City, New Jersey, and Nassau County that also prohibit discrimination basedThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for above-the-bar-logo-no12.jpg on an individual’s “Source of Income.” Source of Income would include any legal, verifiable income derived from social security, or any form of federal, state or local public assistance or housing assistance, including the federal housing subsidy known as “Section 8” but it specifically excludes alimony, court ordered payments, gifts and inheritances. For years, section 8 voucher holders, including senior citizens and members of the disabled community, were unable to find suitable housing. This is a victory for advocates fighting against housing discrimination. Similar to discrimination in the employment context, housing discrimination is simply wrong. Our discrimination attorneys have protected victims of employment and housing matters and assisted individuals in obtaining reasonable accommodations.

That being said, the new law, provided it is signed by Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino, does not apply to every landlord. The law specifically exempts cooperative apartments, condominiums and small buildings with four or fewer apartments. A landlord can still use his or her reasonable business judgment to reject a tenant who receives Section 8 or other government assistance provided that the landlord’s denial is based on other factors (example: credit history and criminal background) and not just the fact that the prospective tenant receives governmental assistance. The law will expire in five years unless further action is taken by the legislators.

Our New York, New Jersey & Connecticut discrimination attorneys have represented clients in employment and housing discrimination matters, including requests for reasonable accommodations. Call our office now at (800) 893-9645 or by email if you believe that you are being discriminated against or harassed. We can help protect your rights.

Disclaimer:
Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney in your state or jurisdiction.