If you’re a landlord, it’s important to know exactly what housing discrimination is and the answers to the questions most commonly asked of your landlord-tenant lawyer NYC. Housing discrimination effects every single landlord and tenant, as it forbids landlords from choosing (or excluding) certain tenants based on certain criteria. These criteria including not discriminating based on:
1. A tenant’s nationality
2. A tenant’s religious beliefs
3. A tenant’s sexual orientation
4. A tenant’s race or color
5. A tenant’s sex
6. A tenant’s disability
7. A tenant’s familial status such as being married, single, or cohabitating.
Armed with this knowledge, we can look at some of the most common questions that come to mind for landlords regarding discrimination.
Question 1: Can A Tenant Sue a Landlord for Discrimination in Federal or State Court?
It is possible for a tenant to file a lawsuit against a landlord within two years of the alleged violation. The result of this lawsuit may ensure that a tenant receives damages, including damages for emotional distress, punitive damages, and attorney fees.
Question 2: What are the approved, legal reasons that a landlord can refuse a tenant?
There are a number of reasons that are perfectly legal for a landlord to reject a tenant. These are not grounds for discrimination and can be used as grounds to refusing a tenant or terminate a lease. Before signing the lease, a tenant may fail a screening process that a landlord might pose to the tenant. The following are all criteria that would give a landlord just grounds for refusing a tenant:
1. Poor credit history
2. Insufficient income
3. A previous history of not paying rent
4. History of bankruptcy
5. No previous references
6. A criminal conviction
7. Having pets
Question 3: How Would a Tenant Lodge a Discrimination Complaint?
A tenant who believes they have been wrongly discriminated against can register a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This can be done if they believe their rights under the Fair Housing Act has been violated. Tenants must lodge the complaint within one year of the alleged discrimination. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will then investigate the complaint to see if “conciliation” can be achieved between the two parties. If this process is unsuccessful, an administrative hearing can be held preceded by a judge to determine if discrimination had genuinely occurred.
If your organization is being sued for discrimination, contact your landlord-tenant lawyer NYC for more information about your options. Warren S. Dank has worked on similar cases for large commercial organizations and can help you win your case.