HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

Most cases of discrimination have to do with employment. However, race discrimination (and ethnic discrimination) in the sale or rental of an apartment or home is also illegal under both State and Federal Law

Housing discrimination can happen in many different ways. A landlord who refuses to rent to African-Americans or who charges them greater rent than non-blacks may be guilty of housing discrimination. Likewise, a developer who refuses to sell a house to a minority or charges more may also be guilty of housing discrimination. Another example may be where a housing association fines a minority owner for a violation of the rules, but not non-minorities.

Like employment discrimination cases, housing discrimination cases can be proved using either the direct or indirect method. The direct method still requires some kind of admission. An example may be where a housing association has a charter which prohibits selling to minorities. But this is rare.

The indirect method of proof is far more common in housing discrimination cases. But in housing discrimination once the plaintiff has proved that the landlord or developer has treated him differently proving false the alternative reason provided by the landlord or developer can be much more difficult. This is because different houses, even different units in an apartment building can be very different. For example, one apartment is likely to have a better view than another. If two apartments have different views, the landlord’s opinion as to which is better is going to be accepted.

How then does a person prove the falsity of the defendant’s reason? One way is by looking at what rent was paid by prior tenants. In the case of the assessment of fines or penalties, there are usually enough homeowners or tenants that similar or more egregious conduct can be found. But this will only be the case if the reason for the assessment really is discrimination because house rules are generally enforced in a regimented uniform manner.

Because the methods of proving housing discrimination are much the same as for proving employment discrimination, an employment lawyer is the right lawyer to handle that kind of case.  f you have a housing discrimination case, give us a call at 646-820-2244 or email us at davidsteinesq@gmail.com.