Fair Housing

Erie County now has a local Fair Housing Law! The legislation, which was signed into law by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on May 22, 2018, prohibits housing discrimination due to race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, disability, national origin, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, familial status, or immigration and citizenship status. The full text of the Law can be found here

Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) has been retained by the County of Erie to provide fair housing services and to assist the County in implementing and enforcing its Fair Housing Law.

 Residents of Erie County:

  • Each City, Town, and Village within Erie County has a local Fair Housing Officer who has been trained on Fair Housing related matters. If you would like to contact your designated Fair Housing Officer, you can find their contact information here or call HOME directly at (716)854-1400.
  • If you would like to report Housing Discrimination, please click the link and submit a completed form: http://www.homeny.org/report-discrimination.
  • HOME offers trainings that cover the provisions in the new Law. Information on upcoming trainings can be found at homeny.org or by calling (716)854-1400.

 Landlords, Housing Providers and Real Estate Brokers:

  • It is unlawful for any person or entity engaged in the sale or rental of housing to do the following:
  1. Refuse to sell or rent or refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental or to deny any housing accommodation to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, disability, national origin, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, familial status or immigration and citizenship status.
  2. Discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions or provision of services or in the furnishing of facilities in connection with the sale or rental of any housing accommodation because of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, disability, national origin, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, familial status or immigration and citizenship status.
  3. To induce or attempt to induce any person to sell or rent any housing accommodation by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, disability, national origin, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, familial status or immigration and citizenship status.
  4. For a person offering residential property for sale or rent or anyone acting on behalf of such a person to print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any statement, advertisement or publication, or to use any form of application for the sale or rental of a housing accommodation or to make any record or inquiry in connection with the sale or rental of a housing accommodation which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, disability, national origin, source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, familial status or immigration and citizenship status.
  5. To incite, compel or coerce, the doing of any acts forbidden by this local law, or to retaliate or discriminate against any person or entity because that person or entity has filed a complaint or testified in a proceeding commenced under the local law. 

Discrimination includes (i) a refusal to permit, at the expense of a disabled person, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such a person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises (except that, in the case of rental, the landlord may where it reasonable to do so, condition permission for a modification on the renter agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted), and (ii) a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in the rules, policies, practices or services when such accommodation may be necessary to afford a disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a housing accommodation.

  • Section 10 of the law, entitled Education and Promotion of Fair Housing Goals, deals specifically with larger housing providers and real estate brokers within the County selling or renting 20 or more dwelling units within a calendar year. Such firms are required by the ordinance to:
  1. Use the equal opportunity logotype on application forms and marketing materials, and to display a public notice of equal opportunity in rental or real estate offices; and
  2. Formulate an Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan, a copy of which may be requested by the Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning or his/her designee.  According to the statute, the plan must include:
    • A statement of non-discrimination; and
    • A marketing strategy designed to attract a diverse pool of applicants.

Click here for a copy of the Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan form; please complete it and keep it in your records. If you believe your firm is exempt from this requirement of the law because you have sold, rented, or managed fewer than 20 units in the last 12 months, please keep this form filed in case you grow your business to this threshold, and also understand that other provisions in the law likely still apply to you. We encourage all housing providers to read the full text of the law to ensure compliance.

  • HOME offers trainings that will cover the provisions in the new Law. Information on upcoming trainings can be found at homeny.org or by calling (716)854-1400.

The Erie County Fair Housing Program also utilizes Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, a comprehensive HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency. Belmont counsels individuals and group audiences on a diverse quantity and complexity of services including: financial education; pre-purchase; rental; post occupancy, which includes foreclosure/default counseling, HECM (reverse mortgages), home maintenance and financial management; fair housing, which includes tenant/landlord rights, assistance in completing complaint forms and referrals to fair housing and legal agencies; along with providing Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and home buyer Clubs. Further information can be found at: http://www.belmonthousingwny.org or by calling (716) 884-7791.

Additional Fair Housing Links:

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

New York State Division of Human Rights

Last updated: September 20, 2018 10:28am