Where You Live Is Your Choice
Fair housing laws protect you when you are looking for a place to live and while you are living in your house, co-op, condo, or apartment. WRO works to protect your rights if you live, or are looking for a place to live, in Westchester, Rockland, or Putnam counties in New York.
Know Your Fair Housing Rights
In New York State, you are protected against housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex or gender, age, disability, marital status, familial status (having children under 18), sexual orientation, identity or expression, or military status. These categories are known as “protected classes.” In Westchester County, it is also unlawful to discriminate based on alienage or citizenship; status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or stalking; and source of income. Under federal law, people with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodations and modifications from their housing provider, so they may fully use and enjoy their homes. In addition, under the Fair Housing Act, new multifamily housing must be designed and constructed in accordance with seven accessibility requirements.
Fair Housing Means…
Fair housing means an equal opportunity to live in the housing that you desire and can afford. Fair housing means that houses, apartments, co-ops, and condos must be made available under the same terms and conditions for all financially qualified applicants. Everyone is entitled to seek housing in every neighborhood, and similar information must be provided to all home seekers. Fair housing and fair lending laws apply to the actions of all people involved in real estate transactions. Real estate brokers and agents, property managers, mortgage lenders, insurers, advertisers, appraisers, and inspectors are required to treat all consumers equally. If you have been, or believe you have been, the victim of unlawful housing discrimination, please contact Andrea Vargas at 914-428-4507, ext. 341 for assistance.
What WRO Does
WRO responds to complaints of housing discrimination by investigating, negotiating, mediating, and, when necessary, litigating with the aid of an attorney. WRO often conducts investigations by testing to uncover discrimination that may otherwise go undetected. Complaints may come from home seekers, tenants, real estate professionals, or advocates, particularly those working with immigrant communities and people with disabilities. If a formal complaint seems necessary, WRO can help those impacted by housing discrimination seek redress in an appropriate forum, including local human rights commissions, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or state or federal court.
Fair housing education for the general public is offered at various workshops, home buying expos, and other countywide events. Workshops are developed to educate renters about their rights and responsibilities, to teach basic financial literacy and to aid prospective home buyers in their housing search. We also educate consumers about predatory lending practices and current scams to be avoided. Any group interested in hosting a workshop or having a training session tailored to their members’ particular needs should contact the Fair Housing Department at 914-428-4507.
Trains Housing Professionals, Officials, and Boards
We are also available to train real estate agents, advocates, municipal officials, planners, other housing professionals, co-op boards, and condominium associations on their fair housing obligations as well as the rights of their clients and residents. Seminars are held for staff at nonprofit agencies throughout Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties. We also create programs on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) for municipal officials and the public about fair housing responsibilities under federal law. Our agency offers consultation on fair housing issues. Feel free to call us at 914-428-4507 with specific questions or to arrange a workshop for your group.