Bill S2185-2013

Prohibits certain discriminatory practices against victims of domestic violence

Prohibits certain discriminatory practices against victims of domestic violence relating to housing, including but not limited to, the purchase, rent, lease or housing accommodation; defines domestic violence victim to include victims of domestic violence pursuant to the social services law and victims of stalking offenses.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
  • Jan 14, 2013: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2185

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to prohibiting discriminatory practices against domestic violence victims

PURPOSE: To protect domestic violence victims from housing discrimination based on their status as a victim.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill amends Executive Law § 292 (the Human Rights Law) to add domestic violence victim status to the list of bases that may not lawfully be relied on when denying an individual the right to purchase, rent, lease or inhabit housing accommodation. A new definition of "domestic violence victim" is added.

JUSTIFICATION: Homelessness among domestic violence victims is a significant problem, which can prevent such victims, who axe primarily women, from stabilizing their lives and the lives of their children and other dependents. While homelessness can result from a number of factors, in a 1999 publication the United States Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a significant cause of homelessness. In a 1999 study conducted by the National Resource Center on Domestic violence, 67% of domestic violence service providers identified housing discrimination as a barrier to battered women seeking alternative housing. Battered women who cannot find a place to live may be forced to return to their abusers. Landlords and sellers of property should not be permitted to discriminate against domestic violence victims based upon assumptions about the effect that their tenancy or home ownership may have on property or other persons.

In 1985 the Office of the Attorney General issued a Formal opinion (85-F15) that recognized that barring rentals to domestic violence victims would have a disproportionate impact on women, and is not justified by a business necessity- The Opinion pointed out that a battered individual seeking housing, who has no intention of undertaking future cohabitation with the abuser or permitting the offending person to enter the premises, should not be denied living quarters based on a third party's previous violence. The opinion affirmed that a property owner may adopt nondiscriminatory rules to protect against damage to persons or property.

This bill would incorporate the Opinion into the Human Rights Law to ensure that domestic violence victims and property owners have clear notice of their legally binding rights and responsibilities, so as to further ensure that persons are protected, not punished, for being subjected to the suffering that results from domestic violence.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2007 Investigations and Government Operations 2008 Investigations and Government Operations 2011 Investigations and Government Operations 2012 Investigations and Government Operations

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The act shall take effect immediately upon enactment.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2185 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 14, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. ROBACH -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to prohibiting discrimi- natory practices against domestic violence victims THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 292 of the executive law is amended by adding a new subdivision 35 to read as follows: 35. THE TERM "DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM" MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS OR IS PERCEIVED BY THE ACTOR TO BE A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS DEFINED IN SECTION FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE-A OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW, OR STALKING AS DEFINED IN ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED TWENTY OF THE PENAL LAW. S 2. Paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of subdivision 2-a of section 296 of the executive law, as amended by chapter 106 of the laws of 2003, are amended to read as follows: (a) To refuse to sell, rent or lease or otherwise to deny to or with- hold from any person or group of persons such housing accommodations because of the race, creed, color, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, age, sex, marital status, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM STATUS, or familial status of such person or persons, or to represent that any housing accommodation or land is not available for inspection, sale, rental or lease when in fact it is so available. (b) To discriminate against any person because of his or her race, creed, color, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, age, sex, marital status, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM STATUS, or familial status in the terms, conditions or privileges of any publicly- assisted housing accommodations or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith. (c) To cause to be made any written or oral inquiry or record concern- ing the race, creed, color, disability, national origin, sexual orien-
tation, membership in the reserve armed forces of the United States or in the organized militia of the state, age, sex, marital status, DOMES- TIC VIOLENCE VICTIM STATUS, or familial status of a person seeking to rent or lease any publicly-assisted housing accommodation; provided, however, that nothing in this subdivision shall prohibit a member of the reserve armed forces of the United States or in the organized militia of the state from voluntarily disclosing such membership. S 3. Subparagraphs 1, 2 and 3 of paragraph (a) of subdivision 5 of section 296 of the executive law, as amended by chapter 106 of the laws of 2003, are amended to read as follows: (1) To refuse to sell, rent, lease or otherwise to deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons such a housing accommodation because of the race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, age, disability, marital status, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM STATUS, or familial status of such person or persons, or to represent that any housing accommodation or land is not available for inspection, sale, rental or lease when in fact it is so available. (2) To discriminate against any person because of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, age, disabil- ity, marital status, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM STATUS, or familial status in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental or lease of any such housing accommodation or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith. (3) To print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any statement, advertisement or publication, or to use any form of applica- tion for the purchase, rental or lease of such housing accommodation or to make any record or inquiry in connection with the prospective purchase, rental or lease of such a housing accommodation which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orien- tation, military status, sex, age, disability, marital status, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM STATUS, or familial status, or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination. S 4. Subdivision 5 of section 296 of the executive law is amended by adding a new paragraph (h) to read as follows: (H) IT SHALL BE AN UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE FOR ANY PERSON OR ENTITY TO OBTAIN FOR, OR PROVIDE TO, ANY PERSON HAVING THE RIGHT TO SELL, RENT OR LEASE A HOUSING ACCOMMODATION, OR ANY AGENT OR EMPLOYEE THEREOF, INFORMATION RELATING TO THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM STATUS OF AN INDIVIDUAL WHO RENTS, LEASES OR SUB-LEASES A HOUSING ACCOMMODATION OR WHO SEEKS TO PURCHASE, RENT, LEASE OR SUB-LEASE A HOUSING ACCOMMODATION. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

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