[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Old Forge as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 1-18-1983 by Ord. No. 6-1983 (Ch. 96, Art. I, of the 1994 Code)]
For the purpose of this article, the following definitions shall apply:
- COMMERCIAL HOUSING
- Housing accommodations held or offered for sale or rent by a real estate broker, salesman or agent or by any other person pursuant to authorization of the owner, by the owner himself or by legal representatives, but shall not include any personal residence offered for sale or rent by the owner or by his broker, salesman, agent or employee.
- HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS
- Includes any building or structure or portion thereto which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more individuals, groups or families, whether or not living independently of each other, and any vacant land offered for sale or lease for commercial housing.
- HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
- Segregation and any difference in treatment solely because of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, marital status, political affiliation, age, physical disability and/or sexual orientation by the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement or by any other person in the matters and conduct hereinafter prohibited.
- Includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, organizations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees in bankruptcy or receivers. It also includes but is not limited to any owner, lessor, assignor, builder, manager, broker, salesman, agent, employee, lending institution and all political subdivisions, authorities, boards and commissions.
The opportunity for an individual to obtain commercial housing without discrimination is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right, which shall be enforceable as set forth in this article.
It shall be unlawful discriminatory practice for a person to:
Refuse to sell, lease, finance or otherwise to deny or withhold commercial housing from any prospective owner, occupant or user of such commercial housing.
Refuse to lend money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise, for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of commercial housing or otherwise withhold financing of commercial housing from any present or prospective owner, occupant or user of such commercial housing.
Discriminate against any person in the terms or conditions of selling or leasing any commercial housing or in furnishing facilities, services or privileges in connection with the ownership, occupancy or use of any commercial housing.
Discriminate against any person in the terms or conditions of any loan of money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise, for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of commercial housing.
Print, publish or circulate any statement or advertisement relating to the sale, lease or acquisition of any commercial housing or the loan of money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise, for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance or commercial housing which indicated any preference, limitation, specification or discrimination.
Make any inquiry, elicit any information, make or keep any record or use any form of application containing questions or entries concerning any discrimination in connection with the sale or lease of any commercial housing or loan of any money, whether or not secured by mortgage or otherwise, for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of commercial housing.
Any individual claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged unlawful discriminatory housing practice as set forth in § 194-3 shall make, sign and file to the Council a verified complaint, in writing, which shall state the name and address of the person alleged to have committed the unlawful discriminatory housing practice complained of and which shall set forth the particulars thereof and contain other information as may be required by the Old Forge Borough Council.
After the filing of a written complaint, the Council shall make a prompt investigation in connection therewith.
If it shall be determined after such investigation that no probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, the Council shall, within 10 days, provide written notice of such to the complainant.
If it shall be determined after such investigation that probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, the Council shall act promptly to endeavor to eliminate the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of by conference, conciliation and persuasion.
In the case of failure to eliminate such practice, the Council shall issue and serve written notice, together with a copy of such complaint, requiring the person, hereinafter referred to as the "respondent," to answer the charges of such complaint at a hearing before the Council at a time and place to be specified in such notice.
At such hearing, the complainant and the respondent shall appear before the Council to submit testimony. The Council shall not be bound by the strict rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity. The testimony taken at the hearing shall be under oath and be transcribed.
If, upon all the evidence presented at the hearing, the Council shall find that the respondent has engaged in any unlawful discriminatory housing practice, the Council shall so state in its findings of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on such respondent an order requiring such respondent to cease and desist from such unlawful discriminatory practice and to take affirmative action to correct such practice, including but not limited to providing a direct means of alleviating the complaint.
If, upon all the evidence presented at the hearing, the Council shall find that the respondent has not engaged in any such unlawful discriminatory housing practice, the Council shall so state in its findings of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on the complainant an order dismissing the complaint as to such respondent.
If any person refuses or fails to comply with any cease and desist order issued by the Council for a period of 10 days from the service of such order, by registered mail or personally, the Council shall certify the case and the entire record of its proceedings to the Borough Solicitor, who shall invoke the aid of an appropriate court to impose the penalties provided in § 194-6 and by appropriate action secure enforcement of the order.
Any person who shall willfully violate any of the provisions of this article or any of the rules and regulations thereunder or who shall fail, refuse or neglect to comply with any decision or order of the Council shall, upon summary conviction thereof, in a summary proceeding before a Magisterial District Judge, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600. In default of the payment of such fines and costs, such person shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 30 days. Each and every day upon which any person violates or continues to violate the provisions of this article shall constitute a separate offense.