[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Schodack 6-23-2011 by L.L. No. 1-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building code administration — See Ch. 90.
It is the policy of the Town of Schodack in the exercise of its police power for the public health, safety and general welfare to ensure that all persons have equal opportunity for housing choices without regard to race, color, religion, sex, handicap, family status or national origin and to prohibit all forms of discrimination which are contrary to this objective.
General. For the purpose of this chapter, certain words or phrases herein shall be interpreted as follows: except where the context clearly indicates otherwise, 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:
- DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING PRACTICE
- An act that is unlawful under this chapter.
- 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 any individual, corporation, partnership, association, labor organization, legal representative, mutual company, joint-stock company, trust, unincorporated organization, trustee, trustee in bankruptcy, receiver or fiduciary.
- 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 this chapter, it shall be unlawful within the Town of Schodack:
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, handicap, family status 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, handicap, family status 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, handicap, family status 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, handicap, family status or national origin that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available; or
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, handicap, family status or national origin.
It shall be unlawful within the Town of Schodack 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
Discriminate against any person in the terms or conditions of such access, membership or participation on account of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, family status or national origin.
It shall be unlawful within the Town of Schodack 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 therefore for the purpose purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, family status or national origin; or
Discriminate against any person 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, handicap, family status or national origin of such person or of any person associated with him or her in connection with 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.
Nothing contained in this section shall impair the scope or effectiveness of the exceptions contained in this chapter.
Sales/rentals by owners.
Nothing in § 115-3 (other than Subsection C) shall apply to 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 one time;
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, the exception granted by this subsection shall apply only with respect to one such sale within any twenty-four-month period;
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; and
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 dwellings 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 § 115-3; 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 prefect or transfer the title.
Nothing in § 115-3 (other than Subsection C) shall apply to 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 or she 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;
He or she has, within the preceding 12 months, participated as agent, other than in the sale of his or her 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
He or she is the owner of any dwelling designed or intended for occupancy by or occupied by five or more families.
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 dwelling 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, handicap, family status or national origin.
Nothing in this chapter shall 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 of occupancy of such lodgings to its members or from giving preference to its members.
Authority and responsibility. The Fair Housing Officer shall have the authority and responsibility for publicizing, administering and enforcing this chapter. The Fair Housing Officer shall be the Code Enforcement Officer appointed pursuant to the provisions of § 90-3 of the Code of the Town of Schodack.
Enforcement. The following procedure shall be used when a situation is identified which might be a violation of this chapter:
The Fair Housing Officer shall respond to all inquiries regarding the applicability of his or her local fair housing law and all applicable state or federal laws and shall maintain documentation of such activities detailing the source of the inquiry, the nature of the problems identified and any actions taken.
Whenever a possible violation of the local fair housing law is identified, the Fair Housing Officer shall accept a complaint on a Form HUD-903 and initiate an investigation, as follows:
Within two weeks after receiving a formal complaint, the Fair Housing Officer shall conduct an investigation and, to the extent possible, verify the circumstances involved.
The fair Housing Officer will inform the owner, realtor, financier or their agents or other responsible parties that a formal complaint has been filed under the fair housing law and that an investigation is in process.
The Fair Housing Officer will attempt to resolve the problem by discussions between the parties involved in each complaint. If these efforts succeed and the complaint is resolved within 30 days, the case will be held open for six months and then closed if a final check verifies that there is no further problem or complaint regarding that case.
If the original complaint is not resolved in 30 days, the matter will be referred to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for further action under Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended.
Where sufficient cause is found to show that the provisions of the local fair housing law have been violated, the Fair Housing Officer may file a civil action against the violator in Town Court and seek any remedies or penalties permitted by law.
Penalties. Any person who has been found to be in violation of this chapter, after trial in Town Court, may be subject to a fine not to exceed $500 for a first offense or $1,000 for each additional offense. For the purpose of this subsection, each separate violation shall be deemed a separate offense.
In addition to the enforcement provisions set forth above, the Fair Housing Officer shall be responsible for displaying fair housing brochures and posters in public places in the Town Hall.
Amendment. The Town 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.
Interpretation. 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.
Validity. The invalidity of any section or provision of this chapter shall not invalidate any other section or provision thereof.
Short title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Schodack Fair Housing Law."