Real estate agents need to be aware of the laws that protect tenants from discrimination when it comes to their source of income. In New York State, the Division of Human Rights Fair Housing brochure states, “It is illegal for a landlord or real estate broker to refuse to rent or sell housing because of a person’s lawful source of income. This includes refusing to accept rental assistance payments such as Section 8 vouchers.”
Lawful Source of Income (SOI) is defined as any form of legal income that can be verified and used to support oneself and their dependents. This includes wages, social security, public assistance payments, and other related forms of payment. It also includes rental assistance payments such as Section 8 vouchers.
Source of Income Discrimination (SOID) is a form of housing discrimination that prevents people from accessing safe and affordable housing based on their source of income. SOID often affects those who are most vulnerable in our society including low-income individuals, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and families with children.
Real estate agents should be aware that SOID is illegal in New York State and can result in fines up to $50,000 per violation if found guilty by the Division of Human Rights. It is important for agents to understand the laws surrounding SOI so they can ensure they are not discriminating against potential tenants or buyers based on their source of income.
By understanding SOI laws and being aware of how they apply to Fair Housing Laws in New York State, real estate agents can help create an equitable housing market for everyone regardless of their source of income.