[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Highland Park by Ord. No. 668 (§ 3-6 of the 1987 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Borough Council hereby declares it to be the public policy of the Borough to eliminate and prevent discrimination and involuntary segregation based on race, religion, creed or ethnic origin and to safeguard the right of every person to sell, purchase, lease, rent or obtain financing for the purchase or lease of housing accommodation without regard to race, religion, creed or ethnic origin.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
- BLOCK BUSTING
- The practice of inducing owners of property to sell because of the actual or rumored advent into the neighborhood of a member of a racial, religious or ethnic group.
- HOUSING ACCOMMODATION
- Any real property permitted for human habitation within the Borough.
- UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION
- Those unlawful practices and acts specified herein.
It shall be unlawful for any person:
To refuse to sell, lease, assign or sublease any housing accommodation to any person because of race, religion or ethnic origin.
To falsely represent that any housing accommodation is not available for inspection, sale, rent, or withhold information about any housing accommodation which is available for inspection.
To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the sale, rental, lease assignment or sublease of any housing accommodation.
To directly or indirectly advertise that the purchase or rental by persons of any particular race, religion or ethnic origin is unwelcome, objectionable, unacceptable or not solicited.
To use any form of application for purchase, lease or financing of any housing accommodation which inquires into the race, religion or ethnic origin of any person.
To engage in the practice of block busting, including but not limited to:
Induce or attempt to induce the sale of housing accommodations by representing that an adverse change has or may occur because of the racial, religious or ethnic composition of the neighborhood.
Misrepresent by listing property for sale for the purpose of inducing the sale of other property.
Represent to a prospective purchaser that a neighborhood might undergo an adverse change due to racial, religious or ethnic composition of the neighborhood.
Advertise for sale or rent nonexistent property or property which is actually not for sale or rent.
Commit acts of any nature which might coerce or create fear with the purpose of inducing the sale of property.
Engage in any form of reprisal against any person who has filed a complaint, testified or participated in any investigation, proceeding or conference conducted under the provisions of this chapter.
No person, bank or lending institution shall discriminate against any applicant because of race, religion or ethnic background or the prospective occupants or tenants of any housing accommodation in the granting, extending or renewing the rates, terms or conditions of any loan.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:
The rental of a single apartment in a dwelling of two families or less, the other unit of which at the time is occupied by the owner as his residence or the household of his family.
The rental of a room to another person by the owners or occupant of a one family dwelling occupied by him, at the time, as his residence or the household of his family.
Any religious institution or organization, or any organization operated for charitable or educational purposes, which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, in the sale, lease, or rent of real property, for limiting admission to or giving preference to persons of the same religion or denomination or from making such selection as is calculated by such organization to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained.
Any person who aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures another to violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall be punishable as a principal.
Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a discriminatory or unfair practice, may, within 60 days, personally or by his attorney at law either file a complaint with the Municipal Court and/or file a verified complaint with the Human Rights Commission of the Borough, setting forth the name and address of the person charged with the offense; the particulars thereof and such other information as may be required by the Human Rights Commission. In the event a complaint is filed with the Human Rights Commission, then:
The Human Rights Commission shall cause a prompt investigation to be made of the charges.
If the Human Rights Commission shall determine that no probable cause exists, it shall within 10 days thereafter give written notice of its determination to the principals involved.
If the Human Rights Commission determines that probable cause does exist, it shall endeavor to eliminate the unlawful discrimination by conference or conciliation or, advise complainant to file a complaint with the Municipal Court of Highland Park. Said complaint must be filed forthwith and under no circumstances later than 90 days after the date of the last act constituting a part of the offense.
No determination of the Human Rights Commission shall be evidential or binding upon the Municipal Court of the Borough.
Upon conviction, a violator shall make available to the complainant the premises involved. His refusal to do so, if the premises are available, shall constitute a separate violation.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent any person from instituting proceedings before any commission or state agency to seek other redress under the applicable existing laws of the State of New Jersey.