[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Owego at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Housing Standards Agency — See Ch. 28.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Village of Owego Fair Housing Law."
For the purpose of providing and ensuring fair housing opportunities for all within the Village of Owego, the Village Board of the Village of Owego in the County of Tioga, State of New York, under the authority of the General Municipal and Village Laws, hereby obtains, enacts and publishes this chapter.
General. For the purpose of this chapter, certain words or phrases herein shall be interpreted as follows, except where the context clearly indicates the contrary: words used in the singular include the plural, words used in the present tense include the future tense, the word "person" includes a corporation as well as an individual, and the word "shall" is always mandatory.
Specific words or phrases. For the purpose of this chapter, certain terms or words herein shall be interpreted as follows:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof which is occupied as or designed or intended for occupancy as a residence by one or more 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.
- Includes a single individual.
- Includes one or more individuals, corporations, partnerships, associations, labor organizations, legal representatives, mutual companies, joint-stock companies, trusts, unincorporated organizations, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, receivers and fiduciaries.
- 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.
Except as exempted by § 114-7, it shall be unlawful within the Village of Owego:
To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of or otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
To make, print or publish or cause to be made, printed or published any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin or an intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination.
To represent to any person because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available.
For profit, to induce or attempt to induce any person to sell or rent any dwelling by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
It shall be unlawful within the Village of Owego for any bank, building and loan association, insurance company or other corporation, association, firm or enterprise whose business consists in whole or in part in the making of commercial real estate loans to deny a loan or other financial assistance to a person applying therefor for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling; or to discriminate against him in the fixing of the amount, interest rate, duration or other terms or conditions of such loan or other financial assistance because of the race, color, religion, sex or national origin of such person or of any person associated with him in connection with such loan or other financial assistance or the purposes of such loan or other financial assistance or of the present or prospective owners, lessees, tenants or occupants of the dwelling or dwellings in relation to which such loan or other financial assistance is to be made or given, provided that nothing contained in this section shall impair the scope or effectiveness of the exception contained in § 114-7.
It shall be unlawful within the Village of Owego to deny any person access to or membership or participation in any multiple-listing service, real estate broker's organization or other service, organization or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings; or to discriminate against him in the terms or conditions of such access, membership or participation on account of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Sales/rentals by owners.
Any single-family house sold or rented by an owner, provided that such private individual owner does not own more than three such single-family houses at any one time; provided, further, that in the case of the sale of any such single-family house by a private individual owner not residing in such house at the time of such sale or who was not the recent resident of such house prior to such sale, the exception granted by this subsection shall apply only with respect to one such sale within any twenty-four-month period; provided, further, that such bona fide private individual owner does not own any interest in nor is there owned or reserved on his behalf under any express or voluntary agreement title to any right to all or a portion of the proceeds from the sale or rental of more than three such single-family houses at one time; provided, further, that the sale or rental of any such single-family house shall be excepted from the application of this chapter only if such house is sold or rented without the use in any manner of the sales or rental facilities or the sales or rental services of any real estate broker, agent or salesman or of such facilities or services of any person in the business of selling or renting dwelling or of any employee or agent of any such broker, agent, salesman or person and without the publication, posting or mailing, after notice, of any advertisement or written notice in violation of § 114-4 of this chapter; but nothing in this proviso shall prohibit the use of attorneys, escrow agents, abstractors, title companies and other such professional assistance as may be necessary to perfect or transfer the title; or
Rooms or units in dwellings containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than four families living independently of each other if the owner actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as his residence.
For the purpose of this exemption, a person shall be deemed to be in the business of selling or renting dwellings if he:
Has, within the preceding 12 months, participated as principal in three or more transactions involving the sale or rental of any dwelling or any interest therein;
Has, within the preceding 12 months, participated as agent, other than in the sale of his own personal residence, in providing sales or rental facilities or sales or rental services in two or more transactions involving the sale or rental of any dwelling or any interest therein; or
Is the owner of any dwelling designed or intended for occupancy by or occupied by five or more families.
Sales/rentals by religious organizations, private clubs. Nothing in this chapter shall 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, sex or national origin; nor shall anything in this chapter prohibit a private club not in fact open to the public, which as an incident to its primary purpose or purposes provides lodgings which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose, from limiting the rental or occupancy of such lodgings to its members or from giving preference to its members.
Authority and responsibility. The authority and responsibility for publicizing, administering and enforcing this chapter shall be in the village's Fair Housing Officer to be designated by the Mayor of the Village of Owego.
Violations. Violations of this chapter shall be reported, in person or in writing, to the village's Fair Housing Officer.
Enforcement. Where sufficient cause exists to believe that the terms of this chapter have been violated, the Fair Housing Officer shall institute a suit in Village Court against the alleged violator.
Where a person or organization has been found, after a trial on the merits, in violation of this chapter, said person or organization shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250 or to imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or to both such fine and imprisonment. Each and every separate violation of this chapter shall be deemed an offense for the purposes of imposing the appropriate fine.
The Village Board may, on its own initiative or on petition, amend, supplement or repeal the provisions of this chapter in conformity with applicable law after public notice and hearing.
In their interpretation and application, the provisions of this chapter shall be held to be minimum requirements adopted for the promotion of the public health, morals, safety or the general welfare. Whenever the requirements of this chapter are at variance with the requirements of any other lawfully adopted rules, regulations or ordinances, the most restrictive or that imposing the highest standards shall govern.