City of Geneva, NY
Ontario County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Geneva 3-3-2004 by L.L. No. 1-2004.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Housing standards —  — See Ch. 202.
Property maintenance —  — See Ch. 264.
[1]
Editor's Note: This chapter superseded former Ch. 158, Fair Housing, adopted 8-9-2000 by L.L. No. 4-2000.
This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as the "Geneva's Fair Housing Local Law."
A. 
The general purposes of this chapter are to promote the availability and accessibility of housing and real property to all persons; to prohibit unfair practices in real property transactions, whether direct or indirect, which inexcusably and unjustifiably deny those persons equal rights and opportunities in acquiring, disposing of, or occupying real property; to provide enforcement mechanisms for the accomplishment of such purposes; and to these ends the provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed. The role of the Geneva Human Rights Commission is to enforce the provisions of this chapter in furtherance of this policy.
B. 
This chapter shall not be construed to endorse specific beliefs, practices, or lifestyles.
C. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to deny any person the right to institute any action or to pursue any civil or criminal remedy for the violation of such person's civil rights.
D. 
Remedies under this chapter should include such relief authorized by law as may be appropriate and reasonable to provide appropriate temporary or preliminary relief as well as to make the aggrieved person whole and eliminate the unfair practice.
E. 
Nothing contained in this chapter is intended to be nor shall be construed to create or form the basis for any liability on the part of the City, or its officers, employees or agents, for any injury or damage resulting from or by reason of any act or omission in connection with the implementation or enforcement of this chapter on the part of the City by its officers, employees, or agents.
Definitions as used in this chapter, unless additional meaning clearly appears from the context, shall have the meanings subscribed:
AGGRIEVED PERSON
A person who claims to have been injured by, or believes that he or she will be injured by, an unfair real estate practice.
BOARD
The Fair Housing Board.
CHARGING PARTY
The person aggrieved by an unfair practice, or the person making a charge on another person's behalf, or the Executive Director when the Executive Director files a charge.
CITY
The City of Geneva, New York.
COMMISSION
The Geneva Human Rights Commission.
COMPLAINANT
The person (including the Executive Director) who files a complaint under this statute.
CONCILIATION
The attempted resolution of issues raised by a complaint, or by the investigation of such complaint, through informal negotiations involving the aggrieved person, the respondent, and the Executive Director.
CONCILIATION AGREEMENT
A written agreement setting forth the resolution of the issues in conciliation.
DIRECTOR
The Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Commission.
A. 
A physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities;
B. 
A record of having such an impairment or being regarded as having such an impairment.
C. 
The term "disability" does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance as defined in Section 102 of the Controlled Substance Act (21 U.S.C.S., § 802).
DISCRIMINATE
Any conduct, whether by single act or as part of a practice, the effect of which is to adversely affect, or differentiate between or among, individuals or groups of individuals, because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability.
DWELLING
Any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or is designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more individuals or families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof.
FAMILIAL STATUS
Being a parent, step-parent, adoptive parent, guardian, foster parent or custodian of a minor child or children under the age of 18 years, or the designee of a parent or other person having legal custody of a child or children under the age of 18 years, with the written permission of such parent or other person, which child or children shall reside permanently or temporarily with such parent or other person. In addition, familial status shall refer to any person who is pregnant or who is in the process of acquiring legal custody of any person who has not yet attained the age of 18 years.
HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS
Includes any dwelling, rooming unit, rooming house, lot or parcel of land in the City which is used, intended to be used, or arranged or designed to be used as, or improved with, a residential structure for one or more human beings.
LENDER
Includes any bank, insurance company, savings or building and loan association, credit union, trust company, mortgage company, or other person or agent thereof, engaged wholly or partly in the business of lending money for the financing or acquisition, construction, repair or maintenance of real property.
MARITAL STATUS
The presence or absence of a marital relationship and includes the status of married, separated, divorced, engaged, widowed, single or cohabitating.
OCCUPANT
Includes any person who has established residence or has the right to occupancy of real property.
OWNER
Includes persons who own, lease, sublease, rent, operate, manage, have charge of, control or have the right of ownership, possession, management, charge, or control of real property on their own behalf or on behalf of another.
PARTY
Includes the person charging or making a charge or complaint or upon whose behalf a complaint is made alleging an unfair practice, the person alleged or found to have committed an unfair practice, and the Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Commission.
PERSON
Includes one or more individuals, partnerships, organizations, trade or professional associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy and receivers. It includes any owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, agent or employee, whether one or more natural persons.
PREVAILING PARTY
Has the same meaning as such term has in Section 722 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. § 1988).
PROSPECTIVE BORROWER
Includes any person who seeks to borrow money to finance the acquisition, construction, repair, or maintenance of real property.
PROSPECTIVE OCCUPANT
Includes any person who seeks to purchase, lease, sublease or rent real property.
REAL ESTATE AGENT, SALESPERSON OR EMPLOYEE
Includes any person employed by, associated with or acting for a real estate broker to perform or assist in the performance of any or all of the functions of a real estate broker.
REAL ESTATE BROKER
Includes any person who, for a fee, commission, or other valuable consideration, lists for sale, sells, purchases, exchanges, leases or subleases, rents, or negotiates or offers or attempts to negotiate the sale, purchase, exchange, lease, sublease or rental of real property of another, or holds himself/herself out as engaged in the business of selling, purchasing, exchanging, listing, leasing, subleasing, or renting real property of another, or collects the rental for use of real property of another.
REAL-ESTATE-RELATED TRANSACTION
Any of the following:
A. 
The making or purchasing of loans or providing other financial assistance:
(1) 
For purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining real property, or
(2) 
Secured by real property; or
B. 
The selling, brokering, or appraising of real property.
REAL PROPERTY
Includes housing accommodations, buildings, structures, real estate, lands, tenements, leaseholds, interests in real estate cooperatives, condominiums, and hereditaments, corporeal and incorporeal, or any interest therein.
RESPONDENT
Any person who is alleged to have committed an unfair practice prohibited by this chapter.
ROOMING UNIT
Includes one or more rooms within a dwelling or rooming house containing space for living and sleeping.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION
Actual or perceived male or female heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality, and includes a person's attitudes, preferences, beliefs and practices pertaining thereto.
TO RENT
Includes to lease, to sublease, to let and otherwise to grant for a consideration the right to occupy premises not owned by the occupant.
A. 
Unfair practices as defined in §§ 158-5 through 158-12 are contrary to the public peace, health, safety, and general welfare and are prohibited by the City in the exercise of its police power.
B. 
Unless the context otherwise requires, "unfair practice" includes "unfair real estate practice."
A. 
It is an unfair real estate practice for any owner, assignee, real estate broker, real estate agent, salesperson or employee, or other person having the right to sell, rent, lease, sublease, assign, transfer, or otherwise dispose of real property, to discriminate by undertaking or refusing to sell, rent, lease, sublease, assign, transfer or otherwise deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons such real property, or refuse to negotiate for the sale, rental, lease, sublease, assignment or transfer of real property, or segregate the use thereof, or represent that such real property is not available for inspection, when in fact it is so available, or expel or evict an occupant from real property or otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling because of the person's race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability, or to discriminate against or segregate any person because of such person's race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental, lease, sublease, assignment, transfer or other disposition of any such real property, including but not limited to the setting of rates for rental or lease, or establishment of damage deposits, or other financial conditions for rental or lease, or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith.
B. 
It is an unfair real estate practice to unreasonably prohibit modifications needed by a handicapped tenant. Whether or not the landlord permits tenants in general to make alterations or additions to a structure or fixtures, it is an unfair practice for a landlord to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a handicapped person equal opportunity to use and enjoy any dwelling, or to refuse to allow a person to make alterations or additions to existing premises occupied or to be occupied by a handicapped person, which are necessary to make the rental property accessible by handicapped persons, under the following conditions:
(1) 
The landlord is not required to pay for the alterations, additions, or restoration.
(2) 
The landlord may reserve the right to approve the design, quality, and construction of the alterations or additions in order to minimize damage to the building and enforce standards of quality and architectural compatibility.
(3) 
The landlord may, where it is reasonable to do so, condition permission for modification on the renter's agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted.
C. 
It is an unfair real estate practice under this chapter for any person to design a building or structure that does not conform with the Federal Fair Housing Act as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, any other applicable federal, state, or local laws pertaining to access by handicapped persons, or any rules or regulations promulgated thereunder. Whenever the requirements of the applicable laws shall differ, those which require greater accessibility for handicapped persons shall govern.
A. 
It is an unfair practice under this chapter for any person to:
(1) 
Aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce the doing of any act defined in this chapter as an unfair practice; or to intimidate, harass, retaliate, obstruct or discriminate against a person in any manner because such person has complied with or proposes to comply with provisions of this chapter or has filed a charge or complaint, has testified, or has assisted in any proceeding under this chapter, or any order issued thereunder; or to attempt, either directly or indirectly, to commit any act defined in this chapter to be an unfair practice; or to apply any economic sanctions or to deny membership privileges because of compliance with the provisions of this chapter; or
(2) 
Coerce, intimidate, threaten, or otherwise interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his or her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his or her having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected under this chapter.
B. 
Any unfair practice under this section which has the purpose or effect of denying a person the right to be free from discrimination in real estate practices or the right to quiet or peaceful possession or enjoyment of real property, interfering with a person's compliance with the provisions of this chapter prohibiting unfair real estate practices, or interfering with a person's filing of a charge or assisting in any proceeding relating to an unfair real estate practice under this chapter, is an unfair real estate practice.
It is an unfair real estate practice for any real estate broker or real estate agent, salesperson or employee, because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability of an occupant, purchaser, prospective occupant, or prospective purchaser, to:
A. 
Refuse or intentionally fail to list or discriminate in listing real property for sale, rent, lease or sublease;
B. 
Refuse or intentionally fail to show a prospective occupant real property listed for sale, rental, lease or sublease;
C. 
Refuse or intentionally fail to accept and/or transmit to an owner any reasonable offer to purchase, lease, rent or sublease real property.
It is an unfair real estate practice to deny any person access to or membership or participation in, any multiple listing service, real estate brokers' organization, or other service, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings, or to discriminate against him or her in terms or conditions of such access, membership, or participation, on account of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability.
A. 
It is an unfair real estate practice for any lender, or any agent or employee thereof, to whom application is made for financial assistance for the purchase, lease, acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair, or maintenance of any real property, or any other person whose business includes engaging in real estate-related transactions, to:
(1) 
Discriminate against any person, prospective occupant or tenant of real property in the granting, withholding, extending, making available, modifying or renewing, or in the rates, terms, conditions or privileges of, any such financial assistance, or in the extension of services in connection therewith; or
(2) 
Use any form of application for such financial assistance or make any record of inquiry in connection with applications for such financial assistance which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability, unless required or authorized by local, state or federal laws or agencies for the purpose of preventing discrimination in real property; provided that nothing in this provision shall prohibit any party to a credit transaction from requesting designation of marital status for the purpose of considering application of community property law to the individual case or from taking reasonable action thereon or from requesting information regarding age, or familial status when such information is necessary to determine the applicant's ability to repay the loan.
B. 
Appraisal exemption. Nothing in this chapter prohibits a person engaged in the business of furnishing appraisals of real property from taking into consideration factors other than race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability.
It is an unfair real estate practice for any owner, real estate agent, salesperson or employee, real estate broker, or any other person, to:
A. 
Require any information, make or keep any record, or use any form of application containing questions or inquiries concerning race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability in connection with the sale, rental, lease or sublease of any real property, unless used solely:
(1) 
For making reports required by agencies of the federal, state, or local government for the purposes of preventing and eliminating discrimination or of overcoming its effects or for other purposes authorized by federal, state, or local agencies or laws or rules adopted thereunder;
(2) 
As to "marital status," for the purpose of determining applicability of community property law to the individual case; and
(3) 
As to "age," for the purpose of determining that the applicant has attained the age of majority, or in the case of housing exclusively for older persons as described in § 158-13E, for the purpose of determining the eligibility of the applicant.
B. 
Publish, circulate, issue or display or cause to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement, or sign of any kind relating to the sale, rental, lease, sublease, assignment, transfer, or listing of real property which indicate any preference, limitation, or specification based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability.
It is an unfair real estate practice for any owner, real estate agent, salesperson or employee, real estate broker, or any other person, to, for profit:
A. 
Promote, induce, or attempt to promote or induce any person to sell or rent any real property by representation regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood or area of a person or persons of a particular race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability;
B. 
Show or otherwise take any action, the design or effect of which is to steer a person or persons to any section of the City or to particular real property in a manner tending to segregate or maintain segregation on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability.
A. 
It is an unfair practice under this chapter for any person, whether or not acting for profit, to harass, intimidate, or otherwise abuse or discriminate against any person or person's friends or associates because of the race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability with the purpose or effect of denying to such person the rights granted in this chapter or the right to quiet or peaceful possession or enjoyment of any real property.
B. 
Any unfair practice under this section which has the purpose or effect of denying a person the right to be free from discrimination in real estate practices or the right to quiet or peaceful possession or enjoyment of real property is an unfair real estate practice.
Nothing in this chapter shall:
A. 
Apply to the renting, subrenting, leasing, or subleasing of a single-family dwelling, wherein the owner or person entitled to possession thereof maintains a permanent residence, home, or abode;
B. 
Be interpreted to prohibit any person from making a choice among prospective purchasers or tenants of real property on the basis of factors other than race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability where such factors are not designed, intended, or used to discriminate;
C. 
Prohibit a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, from limiting the sale, rental or occupancy of dwellings which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion, or from giving preference to such persons, unless membership in such religion is restricted on account of race, color, or national origin;
D. 
Prohibit any person from limiting the rental or occupancy of housing accommodations in any YWCA, YMCA, sorority, fraternity, school dormitory, or similar residential hall to persons of one sex;
E. 
Prohibit any person from limiting the rental or occupancy of housing accommodations to persons who are elderly or handicapped in any housing facility designed, constructed or substantially rehabilitated and operated exclusively for older persons, as defined by the Federal Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3607 (b)(1) through (4) as of the effective date of the local law codified in this chapter, or for the handicapped;
F. 
Require any person to rent or lease a housing accommodation to an unemancipated minor;
G. 
Require any person to rent or lease a housing accommodation in violation of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code;
H. 
Be construed to prohibit treating handicapped persons more favorably than nonhandicapped persons;
I. 
Be construed to protect criminal conduct;
J. 
Prohibit any person from limiting the rental or occupancy of housing accommodations on the basis of conduct by an occupant or prospective occupant which involves the use of force or violence or advocacy directed to producing or inciting imminent force or violence to the person or property of the owner, manager, or other person having the right to sell, rent, lease, assign, transfer or otherwise dispose of the real property occupied or sought to be occupied.
A. 
Authority and responsibility. The authority and responsibility for administering this chapter shall be the Commission.
B. 
The Commission shall formulate policies to effectuate the purposes of this chapter and may make recommendations to agencies and officers of the City in aid of such policies and purposes.
C. 
The Commission shall have the power to adopt, promulgate, amend, and rescind suitable rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this chapter and the policies and practices of the Fair Housing Board.
D. 
The Commission shall annually report to City Council, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Geneva's New Horizons Task Force any outcomes, activities, and statistics related to fair housing and the enforcement of this chapter.
E. 
This chapter shall not affect any powers granted to the Commission under its enabling statute (Article 29, Municipal Law).
A. 
There is hereby created a Fair Housing Board (Board). Such Board shall consist of three qualified members who shall be appointed by the City Council of the City of Geneva from the membership of the Commission; one of whom shall be designated as Chairperson by the Commission. The members of the Board shall serve at the pleasure of the City Council of the City of Geneva.
B. 
Each Board member shall serve a term which parallels his or her renewable three-year term as a Commissioner. City Council shall have the power to appoint alternate Board members in the event that a current member is unable to serve out his or her term.
C. 
Three members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting the business thereof. Each member of the Board shall serve without compensation.
The Board shall have the following functions, powers, and duties:
A. 
To establish and maintain its principal headquarters at the office of the Commission.
B. 
To adopt an official seal.
C. 
To hold hearings, subpoena witnesses, and compel their attendance, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath and, in connection therewith, to require the production for examination of any books or papers relating to any matter under investigation or in question before the Board.
D. 
The authority to appoint one or more hearing officers as shall be necessary to carry out its functions and duties. The hearing officer shall have the same powers possessed by the Board to hold and conduct hearings. The hearing officer shall function under the supervision of the Board and shall make findings of fact and recommendations to the Board.
E. 
To issue and to have served cease-and-desist orders and orders dismissing complaints and to pass upon compliance with such orders.
F. 
To award damages as set forth in § 158-20.
G. 
The authority to request the assistance of the City of Geneva Attorney in carrying out the purposes of this chapter which includes the ability to seek temporary injunctive relief pending the completion of an investigation.
H. 
To render each year to the Commission a written report of all of its activities and its recommendations.
A. 
Charge; filing.
(1) 
A charge alleging an unfair practice under this chapter shall be in writing and signed under oath or affirmation by or on behalf of a charging party before any person authorized to administer oaths. The charge shall describe the unfair practice complained of and should include a statement of the dates, places and circumstances, and the persons responsible for such acts and practices. Upon the filing of a charge alleging an unfair practice, the Director shall cause to be served upon the charging party a written notice acknowledging the filing, and notifying the charging party of the time limits and choice of forums provided in this chapter.
(2) 
Whenever charges are made on behalf of a person claiming to be aggrieved, the person making the charge must provide the Director with the name, address and telephone number of the individual on whose behalf the charge is made. Thereafter, the Director shall verify the authorization of such charge by the person on whose behalf the charge is made and upon the request of such person may keep his or her identity confidential.
(3) 
A charge shall not be rejected as insufficient because of failure to include all required information so long as it substantially satisfies the informational requirements necessary for processing.
(4) 
A charge alleging an unfair practice or pattern of unfair practices under this chapter may also be filed by the Director whenever the Director has reason to believe that any person has been engaged or is engaging in an unfair practice under this chapter.
B. 
Time for filing charges. Charges filed under this chapter must be filed with the Director within 180 days after the occurrence of the alleged unfair practice.
C. 
Amendments to charge.
(1) 
The charging party or the Director may amend a charge:
(a) 
To cure technical defects or omissions;
(b) 
To clarify allegations made in the charge;
(c) 
To add allegations related to or arising out of the subject matter set forth or attempted to be set forth in the charge; or
(d) 
To add or substitute as a respondent a person who was not originally named as a respondent, but who is, during the course of the investigation, identified as a respondent. For jurisdictional purposes, such amendments shall relate back to the date the original charge was first filed.
(2) 
The charging party may amend a charge to include allegations of retaliation which arose after the filing of the original charge. Such amendment must be filed within 180 days after the occurrence of the retaliation, and prior to the Director's issuance of findings of fact and determination with respect to the original charge. Such amendments may be made at any time during the investigation of the original charge so long as the Director will have adequate time to investigate the additional allegations and the parties will have adequate time to present the Director with evidence concerning the additional allegations before the issuance of findings of fact and a determination.
(3) 
When a charge is amended to add or substitute a respondent, the Director shall serve upon the new respondent:
(a) 
The amended charge;
(b) 
The notice required under § 158-17D(1); and
(c) 
A statement of the basis for the Director's belief that the new respondent is properly named as a respondent. For jurisdictional purposes, amendment of a charge to add or substitute a respondent shall relate back to the date the original charge was first filed.
D. 
Notice of charge.
(1) 
The Director shall promptly, and in any event within 20 days of filing of the charge, cause to be served on or mailed, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the respondent, a copy of the charge along with a notice advising the respondent of respondent's procedural rights and obligations under this chapter. The Director shall promptly make an investigation of the charge.
(2) 
The investigation shall be directed to ascertain the facts concerning the unfair practice alleged in the charge and shall be conducted in an objective and impartial manner.
(3) 
During the investigation, the Director shall consider any statement of position or evidence with respect to the allegations of the charge which the charging party or the respondent wishes to submit, including the respondent's answer to the charge. The Director shall have authority to sign and issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses, the production of evidence including but not limited to books, records, correspondence or documents in the possession or under the control of the person subpoenaed, and access to evidence for the purpose of examination and copying, and conduct discovery procedures which may include the taking of interrogatories and oral depositions.
(4) 
The Director may require a fact-finding conference or participation in another process with the respondent and any of respondent's agents and witnesses and charging party during the investigation in order to define the issues, determine which elements are undisputed, resolve those issues which can be resolved, and afford an opportunity to discuss or negotiate settlement. Parties may have their legal counsel present if desired.
(5) 
Witnesses summoned by a subpoena under this chapter shall be entitled to the same witness and mileage fees as witnesses in proceedings in New York State Supreme Court. Fees payable to a witness summoned by a subpoena issued at the request of a party shall be paid by that party or, where a party is unable to pay the fees, by the Commission.
E. 
Investigation of charges. The following procedure shall apply to the investigation of charges of unfair real estate practices filed under this chapter:
(1) 
A respondent may file with the Director an answer to the charge no later than 20 days after receiving notice of the charge.
(2) 
The Director shall commence investigation of the charge within 30 days after the filing of the charge. An investigation must be completed within 100 days, except under special circumstances which must be documented and conveyed to the parties. If the Director is unable to complete the investigation within 100 days after the filing of the charge, the Director shall notify the charging party and the respondent of the reasons therefor. The Director shall make final administrative disposition of a charge within one year of the date of filing of the charge, unless it is impracticable to do so. If the Director is unable to make a final administrative disposition within one year of the filing of the charge, the Director shall notify the charging party and the respondent of the reasons therefor.
(3) 
If the Director determines that it is necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter, the Director may, in writing, request the City Attorney to seek prompt judicial action for temporary or preliminary relief to enjoin any unfair real estate practice pending final disposition of a charge.
F. 
Conciliation and investigative reports.
(1) 
During the period beginning with the filing of such complaint and ending with the filing of a charge or a dismissal by the Director, the Director shall, to the extent feasible, engage in conciliation with respect to such complaint.
(a) 
A conciliation agreement arising out of such conciliation shall be an agreement between the respondent and the complainant and shall be subject to approval by the Director.
(b) 
A conciliation agreement may provide for binding arbitration of the dispute arising from the complaint. Any such arbitration that results from a conciliation agreement may award appropriate relief, including monetary relief.
(c) 
Each conciliation agreement shall be made public unless the complainant and respondent otherwise agree and the Director determines that disclosure is not required to further the purposes of this title.
(d) 
Failure to comply with conciliation agreement. Whenever the Director has reasonable cause to believe that a respondent has breached a conciliation agreement, the Director shall refer the matter to the City Attorney with a recommendation that a civil action be filed for the enforcement of such agreement.
(e) 
Prohibitions and requirements with respect to disclosure of information.
[1] 
Nothing that transpires during the conciliation process, whether successful or unsuccessful, may be publicly disclosed or used in subsequent proceedings.
[2] 
Notwithstanding Subsection F(1)(e)[1], the Director shall make available to the aggrieved person and the respondent, at any time, upon request following completion of the Director's investigation, information derived from an investigation and any final investigative report relating to that investigation.
(2) 
At the end of each investigation under this section, the Director shall prepare a final investigative report containing:
(a) 
The names and dates of contacts with witnesses;
(b) 
A summary and the dates of correspondence and other contacts with the aggrieved person and the respondent;
(c) 
A summary description of other pertinent records;
(d) 
A summary of witness statements; and
(e) 
Answers to interrogatories.
(3) 
A final report under this subsection may be amended if additional evidence is later discovered.
G. 
Findings of fact and determination of reasonable cause or no reasonable cause.
(1) 
The results of the investigation shall be reduced to written findings of fact and a determination shall be made by the Director that there is or is not reasonable cause for believing that an unfair practice has been or is being committed, which determination shall also be in writing and issued with the written findings of fact.
(2) 
The findings of fact and determination shall be mailed promptly to the respondent and charging party.
(3) 
Once issued to the parties, the Director's findings of fact, determination, and order may not be amended or withdrawn except upon the agreement of the parties or in response to an order by the Board after an appeal taken pursuant to § 158-17H(2), provided, that the Director may correct clerical mistakes or errors arising from oversight or omission upon the request from a party or upon the Director's own discretion.
H. 
Determination of no reasonable cause; appeal from and dismissal.
(1) 
If the Director determines that no reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur, the Director shall promptly dismiss the complaint. The Director shall make public disclosure of each such dismissal.
(2) 
If a determination is made that there is no reasonable cause for believing an unfair practice under this chapter has been committed, the charging party shall have the right to appeal such determination to the Board within 30 days of the date the determination is signed by the Director by filing a written statement of appeal with the Board. The Board shall promptly deliver a copy of the statement to the Director and respondent and shall promptly consider and act upon such appeal by either affirming the Director's determination or remanding it to the Director with appropriate instructions. In the event no appeal is taken or such appeal results in affirmance or if the Board has not decided the appeal within the 60 days allotted, the determination of the Director shall be final and the charge deemed dismissed. Any party aggrieved by the final dismissal may appeal the order on the record to an appropriate court.
I. 
Determination of reasonable cause; conciliation and settlement.
(1) 
If a determination is made that reasonable cause exists to believe that an unfair practice has occurred, the Director shall endeavor to eliminate the unfair practice by conference, conciliation and persuasion. Conditions of settlement may include (but are not limited to) the elimination of the unfair practice, rent refunds or credits, reinstatement to tenancy, affirmative recruiting or advertising measures, payment of actual damages, damages for loss of the right to be free from discrimination in real estate transactions, attorney's fees or such other remedies that will effectuate the purposes of this chapter, including action which could be ordered by a court. In charges alleging an unfair real estate practice, filed under this chapter, the Director may also require payment of a civil penalty, as set forth in § 158-20.
(2) 
Any settlement or conciliation agreement shall be an agreement between the charging party and the respondent and shall be subject to the approval of the Director. An order shall then be entered by the Director setting forth the terms of the agreement. Copies of such order shall be delivered to all affected parties.
(3) 
If conciliation is not successful and no agreement can be reached, the Director shall issue a written finding to that effect and furnish a copy of the finding to the charging party and to the respondent. Such a finding:
(a) 
Shall consist of a short and plain statement of the facts upon which the Director has found reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred or is about to occur;
(b) 
Shall be based on the final investigative report; and
(c) 
Need not be limited to the facts or grounds alleged in the complaint filed under § 158-17A; and
(d) 
Shall be delivered to the charging parting and to the respondent.
(4) 
Upon issuance of the finding, the Director shall promptly cause to be delivered the entire investigatory file, including the charge and any and all findings made, to the Board for further proceedings and hearing under this chapter pursuant to § 158-18.
(5) 
If the Director determines that the matter involves the legality of any State or local zoning or other land use law or local law, the Director shall immediately refer the matter to the City Attorney for appropriate action, instead of issuing a charge.
A. 
Following submission of the investigatory file to the Board, the Director shall prepare a complaint against such respondent relating to the charge and facts discovered during the investigation thereof and prosecute the same in the name and on behalf of the Commission and the City at a hearing therefor before the Board sitting alone or with a Hearing Examiner as provided in this chapter and to appear for and represent the interests of the Commission and the City at all subsequent proceedings.
B. 
The complaint shall be served on the respondent, in the usual manner provided by law for service of complaints and filed with the Board. A copy of such complaint shall be furnished the charging party.
C. 
Within 20 days of the service of such complaint upon it, the respondent shall file its answer with the Board and serve a copy of the same on the Director.
D. 
Upon the filing of the complaint, the Board shall promptly establish a date for the hearing of such complaint and give notice thereof to the Director, the City Attorney, the complainant, and respondent, and shall thereafter hold a public hearing on the complaint, which hearing shall commence no earlier than 90 days nor later than 120 days from the filing of the complaint, unless otherwise ordered by the Board.
E. 
After the filing of a complaint with the Board, it may be amended only with the permission of the Board, which permission shall be granted when justice will be served thereby and all parties are allowed time to prepare their case with respect to additional or expanded charges which they did not and could not have reasonably foreseen would be in issue at the hearing.
F. 
The hearing shall be conducted by the Board and/or a hearing examiner appointed by the Board from a list approved by the Commission, sitting alone or with the Board. Such hearings shall be conducted in accordance with written rules and procedures consistent with this chapter.
G. 
If a Hearing Examiner is appointed, it shall be done within 30 days after notice of the date of hearing from the Board.
H. 
Rights of parties. At a hearing under this chapter, each party may appear in person, be represented by counsel, present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and obtain the issuance of subpoenas. Any aggrieved person may intervene as a party in the proceeding. The Federal Rules of Evidence shall apply to the presentation of evidence in such hearing as they would in a civil action in a U.S. District Court.
I. 
A court reporting stenographer shall be present at all hearings.
J. 
A hearing under this section shall be conducted as expeditiously and inexpensively as possible, consistent with the need of all parties to obtain a fair hearing and complete record.
K. 
Resolution of charge. Any resolution of a charge before a final order under this section shall require the consent of the aggrieved person on whose behalf the charge is issued.
A. 
Within 30 days after conclusion of the hearing, the chairperson of the Board presiding at the hearing (or the Examiner as the case may be) shall prepare a written decision and order. The final decision shall be filed as a public record with the City Clerk, and copies thereof mailed to each party of record and to the Commission.
B. 
Such decision shall contain a brief summary of the evidence considered and shall contain findings of fact, conclusions of law upon which the decision is based, and an order detailing the relief deemed appropriate, together with a brief statement of the reasons therefor.
C. 
In the event the Board (or a majority of the panel composed of the Examiner and Board), determines that a respondent has committed an unfair practice under this chapter, the Board (or panel majority) may order the respondent to take such affirmative action or provide for such relief as is deemed necessary to correct the practice, effectuate the purpose of this chapter, and secure compliance therewith, including but not limited to rent refund, or credit, reinstatement to tenancy, affirmative recruiting and advertising measures, attorney's fees or to take such other action as in the judgment of the Board (or panel majority) will effectuate the purposes of this chapter. The Board (or panel majority) may grant any relief that could be ordered by a court, including actual damages, damages for loss of the right to be free from discrimination in real estate transactions, injunctive or equitable relief, any other appropriate remedy set forth in the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (P.L. 100-430), and assessment of civil penalties as set forth in § 158-20. An order may include the requirement for a report on the matter of compliance.
D. 
Any person aggrieved by a final order of the Board (or panel majority) may appeal the order on the record to an appropriate court.
E. 
The Board in the performance of its functions may enlist the aid of all departments of City government, and all said departments are directed to fully cooperate therewith.
A. 
In cases alleging unfair real estate practices filed under this chapter, in addition to any other award of damages or grant of injunctive relief, or other equitable relief, a penalty may be assessed against the respondent. Payment of the penalty may be required as a term of a conciliation agreement entered into under § 158-17I, or may be ordered by the Board (or panel majority) in a decision rendered under § 158-19 by a court of competent jurisdiction in a proceeding filed under § 158-22.
B. 
The penalty assessed against a respondent shall not exceed the following amount:
(1) 
Ten thousand dollars if the respondent has not been determined to have committed any prior unfair real estate practice;
(2) 
Twenty-five thousand dollars if the respondent has been determined to have committed one other unfair real estate practice during the five-year period ending on the date of the filing of this charge; or
(3) 
Fifty thousand dollars if the respondent has been determined to have committed two or more unfair real estate practices during the seven-year period ending on the date of the filing of this charge; except that if acts constituting the unfair real estate practice that is the subject of the charge are committed by the same natural person who has been previously determined to have committed acts constituting an unfair real estate practice, then the penalties set forth in Subsection B(2) and (3) of this section may be imposed without regard to the period of time within which those prior acts occurred.
A. 
In any case in which a final order of the Director or of the Board directed to the City, or to any department, division, board or agency thereof, is not complied with, a copy of the order shall be transmitted to the City Manager and the Mayor, who shall take appropriate action to secure compliance therewith.
B. 
In the event that any final order of the Director or of the Board is not complied with, the Director or the Board, as the case may be, shall notify the City Attorney, who shall petition the appropriate court to secure enforcement of or compliance with the order, or to impose penalties as set forth in this chapter, or both. The City Attorney shall certify and file with the court the final order sought to be enforced. The City Attorney shall cause a notice of the petition to be sent by certified mail to all parties or their representatives.
C. 
If, within 60 days after the date the Board's order concerning an unfair housing practice is entered, no petition has been filed under Subsection B of this section, any person entitled to relief under the final order may petition the appropriate court for a decree enforcing the order.
A. 
Following the issuance of a finding of unsuccessful conciliation, any charging party on whose behalf the reasonable cause finding was made, or a respondent, may, with respect to an unfair real estate practice, elect to have the claims on which reasonable cause was found decided in a civil action under this section in lieu of an administrative hearing under §§ 158-18 and 158-19. This election must be made not later than 20 days after issuance of the finding of unsuccessful conciliation. The person making such election shall give notice of doing so to the Director and to all other charging parties and respondents to whom the charge relates.
B. 
If an election is made under Subsection A of this section, the City Attorney shall commence, within 30 days after the election is made, a civil action in the appropriate court to decide on the claim.
C. 
Any aggrieved person may intervene as of right in the civil action.
D. 
In a civil action under this section, if the court finds that an unfair real estate practice has occurred or is about to occur, the court may grant any relief, including but not limited to actual damages, injunctive or equitable relief, and any other appropriate remedy set forth in the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (P.L. 100-430). The court may also assess a civil penalty as set forth in § 158-20. If monetary relief is sought for the benefit of a person who could have intervened under Subsection C of this section, but who did not intervene in the civil action, the court shall not award such relief if that person has not complied with discovery orders entered by the court.
E. 
In any proceeding under this section, the court may award attorney fees and costs to the prevailing party. Attorney fees and costs may be assessed against a person who intervenes by filing a notice of independent appearance in the civil action only to the extent that the intervening participation was frivolous or vexatious, or was for the purpose of harassment.
A. 
Any person who claims to have been injured by an unfair real estate practice, or who believes that he or she will be injured by an unfair real estate practice that is about to occur, may commence a civil action in the appropriate court of jurisdiction not later than one year after the occurrence or the termination of an alleged unfair real estate practice, whichever occurs last, to obtain appropriate relief with respect to such unfair real estate practice.
B. 
The computation of such one-year period shall not include any time during which an administrative proceeding under this chapter was pending with respect to a complaint or charge under this chapter alleging an unfair real estate practice based on the same facts or occurrences.
C. 
A complaint may be filed under this section whether or not an administrative charge has been filed under § 158-17A, and without regard to the status of such charge, but if the Department or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has obtained a pre-finding or post-finding settlement or conciliation agreement with the consent of the charging party, no action may be filed under this section with respect to the alleged unfair real estate practice which forms the basis for such complaint, except for the purpose of enforcing the terms of such agreement.
D. 
No civil action may be commenced under this section with respect to an alleged unfair real estate practice which forms the basis of a complaint if a hearing on the record has been commenced by the Fair Housing Board.
E. 
In a civil action under this section, if the court finds that an unfair real estate practice has occurred or is about to occur, the court may grant as relief, as it deems appropriate, any permanent or temporary injunction, temporary restraining order, or other order, including an order enjoining the defendant from engaging in such practice or ordering such affirmative action as may be appropriate. The court may also award actual damages, including damages for humiliation and mental suffering, and any other appropriate remedy set forth in the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (P.L. 100-430). The court may also allow reasonable attorney's fees and costs to the prevailing party.
F. 
Relief granted under this section shall not affect any contract, sale, encumbrance, or lease consummated before the granting of such relief and involving a bona fide purchaser, encumbrancer, or tenant, without actual notice of the filing of a charge or civil action under this chapter.
G. 
Upon timely application, the City Attorney may intervene in such civil action, if the City Attorney certifies that the case is of general public importance, and may obtain such relief as would be available in an action brought under § 158-22.
It is unlawful for any person to willfully engage in an unfair practice under this chapter or willfully resist, prevent, impede or interfere with the Director, the Board, the City Attorney, or in the performance of their duties under this chapter, or to fail, refuse, or neglect to comply with any lawful order of the Director, the Board, or the City.
Nothing in this chapter shall invalidate or restrict any right or remedy of any charging party or respondent under state or federal law nor preclude such party from seeking judicial review of any final administrative decision or order made under this chapter.
Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to prevent the receiving, referring, or other processing of complaints, in accordance with any cooperative agreement with the New York State Division of Human Rights or with other agencies concerned with the enforcement of laws against discrimination.
The procedures for administration and enforcement under this chapter shall apply to charges pending which have not had a date certain set for hearing as of the effective date of the local law codified in this chapter. However, this section shall not be construed to invalidate any administrative action taken or determinations and orders made on pending charges because of the procedures provided by this chapter.
Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, by force or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with:
A. 
Any person because of his or her race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability, and because he or she is or has been selling, purchasing, renting, financing, occupying, or contracting or negotiating for the sale, purchase rental, financing or occupation of any dwelling, or applying for or participating in any service, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings; or
B. 
Any person because he or she has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from:
(1) 
Participating, without discrimination on account of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability, in any of the activities, services, organizations or facilities described in this chapter; or
(2) 
Affording another person or class of persons opportunity or protection so to participate; or
C. 
Any citizen because he is or has been, or in order to discourage such citizen or any other citizen from lawfully aiding or encouraging other persons to participate, without discrimination on account of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, or disability in any of the activities, services, organizations, or facilities described in Subsection A of this section, or participating lawfully in speech or peaceful assembly opposing any denial of the opportunity to so participate, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both; and if death results shall be subject to imprisonment for any term of years or for life.