Sexual Orientation

 

FAIR HOUSING AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION

As of October 2022, twenty-four states (including New York) and the District of Columbia expressly prohibited housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Federal laws do not currently prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity expressly. However, it is still possible that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ+) community may be protected under the Fair Housing Act. 

 

HUD’s EQUAL ACCESS RULE AND 2021 MEMORANDUM:

HUD’s Equal Access Rule, published in 2012, requires HUD-assisted and insured housing programs to be open to all eligible individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

 

The 2021 HUD Memorandum based on President Biden’s Executive Order on “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation” requires HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) to treat complaints of housing discrimination based upon sexual orientation as discrimination under the federal protection of gender.

NEW YORK STATE SEXUAL ORIENTATION NON-DISCRIMINATION ACT (SONDA) 

The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, and the exercise of civil rights. SONDA added the term "sexual orientation" to the list of specifically protected characteristics in various NY State laws, including the Human Rights Law, the Civil Rights Law, and the Education Law.

 

 

WHAT DOES SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION LOOK LIKE:

Sexual orientation under the Equal Access Rule generally refers to a person who identifies as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual, whether actual or perceived. Sexual Orientation might look like:
 

  • Setting differing terms or conditions for sale or rent or offering different services or options based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity

  • Trying to convince an individual to live (or not to live) somewhere because of their sexual orientation or gender identity

  • Harassing someone, using derogatory terms, or asking inappropriate and intrusive questions because of sexual orientation

  • Blockbusting. Although blockbusting usually is thought of as a type of race discrimination, a real estate broker also could unlawfully try to persuade people to sell or move based upon the claim that LGBTQ individuals are moving into a neighborhood or condo building

  • Claiming that housing is not available when it is

  • Refusing to provide information about loans or discrimination on the terms of loans based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity

  • Refusing to provide insurance or discriminating on the terms of homeowner’s insurance based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity

If you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination because of your sexual orientation, please contact us for assistance.

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