Know Your Rights: Fair Housing Laws


On Thursday, April 26, 2018, Erie County passed the County of Erie Fair Housing Law. This legislation is consistent with federal and state fair housing laws while also banning discrimination throughout Erie County on the basis of one’s gender identity, immigration status, and lawful source of income.

Source of income discrimination, in particular, is pervasive throughout Erie County and perpetuates much of the widespread residential segregation found throughout Western New York.  With this landmark legislation, housing providers will no longer be allowed to deny prospective tenants access to safe and affordable housing merely because they receive rental assistance, disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income, veteran’s benefits, or other government subsidies and lawful non-wage income

For more information, check out this Buffalo News article. You can also find the law here.


Federal Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 as part of the Civil Rights Act. It bans discrimination in housing based on 7 protected classes: race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability. The full text of the law can be found here.

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New York State Human Rights Law

State law contains the same protections as federal law, but also includes age, creed, sexual orientation, marital status, or military status.

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Local Laws: Buffalo, Hamburg, and West Seneca

The City of Buffalo passed its fair housing act in 2006, which bans discrimination based on marital status, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and source of income in addition to the federally protected classes. Hamburg and West Seneca also have laws banning source of income discrimination.