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New York may soon protect renters from income discrimination

Discrimination in any form is a deplorable act. It is a sad reality that every day people are denied opportunities like gainful employment because of their race, religion, age or disabilities. One of the most unfortunate places you may face discrimination, however, is when looking for a safe, sturdy place to call home.

Rest assured that there are laws in place to ensure that you won't be discriminated against when searching for a place to live. The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) are prime examples of laws that protect you from discrimination in several forms. And now, a new form may be added to the list: income.

Income discrimination

While discrimination based on source of income is illegal, there are still areas in the state where you could be turned away by a landlord if you are using non-wage income sources to pay rent. These include things like Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers and veteran's benefits.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is attempting to fight this by introducing a bill which would make these actions illegal. Cuomo's office stated that practices like this lead to "backdoor discrimination" against minorities, veterans, the elderly and many others.

"As a result, many low-income New York Families are unable to find landlords who will accept their non-wage income and spend more time in shelters or in substandard housing and in concentrated areas of poverty." Cuomo's office said.

Actions you can take

Federal and state laws are here to protect you from being left out in the cold. If you think you have been discriminated against by a landlord because of reasons including your race, religion, disabilities, gender or sexuality, there are things you can do to seek justice.

One of the best things you can do is to educate yourself further on your rights, and seek the aid of a skilled attorney. Someone advocating for you in the courtroom can mean you get the fair housing you deserve, and potentially even prosecutions for landlords engaging in discriminatory practices.

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