[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of West Seneca 3-5-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the policy of the Town of West Seneca to provide for fair housing throughout said town.
As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings indicated:
- A handicapped person is one who:
- MARITAL STATUS
- Shall be understood to mean single, married, divorced, separated or widowed.
It shall be unlawful:
To refuse to sell or rent or refuse to negotiate for the sale or deny a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, handicap, national origin, source of income or because the person has a child or children.
To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions or provision of services or facilities in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling because of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, handicap, national origin, source of income or because the person has a child or children.
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, age, marital status, handicap, national origin or source of income or a person or persons with children.
For a person offering residential property for sale or rent or anyone acting on behalf of such a person to print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any statement, advertisement or publication or to use any form of application for the sale or rental of a dwelling or to make any record or inquiry in connection with the sale or rental of a dwelling which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, handicap, national origin, source of income or the presence of children in the family or which expresses, directly or indirectly, any intent so to limit, specify or discriminate.
This chapter shall apply to all residential structures located within the Town of West Seneca.
The prohibitions of this chapter shall not apply to a religious institution or organization limiting the sale, rental or occupancy of dwellings which it owns or operates to persons of the same religion or giving preference to such persons, unless membership in such religion is restricted on account of race, color, sex, age, marital status, handicap, national origin, source of income or the presence of children in the family.
The prohibitions of this chapter against discrimination because of sex shall not apply to a residential building owned by a public body or by a private institution or organization and maintained, in whole or in part, for the exclusive use of one (1) sex.
The prohibitions of this chapter against discrimination because of age shall not apply to a residential building of six (6) or more units maintained for the exclusive use of the elderly and their immediate families. For purposes of this subsection, a person shall be considered elderly who is sixty-two (62) years of age or older.
Filing of complaints.
The Town of West Seneca or its designee shall receive, investigate and refer complaints under this chapter. The Supervisor shall designate a not-for-profit fair housing organization or the Affirmative Action Officer of the Town of West Seneca to perform the function contained in this section.
Any person or organization, whether or not an aggrieved party, may file with the Supervisor's designee a complaint of a violation of this chapter.
The Supervisor's designee may investigate individual instances and patterns of conduct prohibited by this chapter, even without a complaint from another person or organization, and may initiate complaints in connection therewith.
Investigation. The Supervisor's designee shall notify the accused party, in writing, within five (5) days of the filing of any complaint. The designee shall make prompt investigation in connection with the complaint. If, during or after the investigation, the designee believes that appropriate action to preserve the status quo or to prevent irreparable harm is advisable, the designee shall advise the Town Attorney, in writing, to bring immediately, in the name of the Town of West Seneca, any action necessary to preserve such status quo or to prevent such harm, including the seeking of temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions.
Action. If, at the conclusion of the investigation, the Supervisor's designee shall determine that there is probable cause to credit the allegation of the complaint, the designee shall certify the matter to the Town Attorney, who shall institute proceedings in the name of the Town of West Seneca.
Any person found to have violated any provision of this chapter shall be subject to the following:
A fine of five hundred dollars ($500.);
Revocation or suspension of any license or permit necessary for the operation of the dwelling in question;
Costs, expenses and disbursements incurred by the Town of West Seneca as are necessary to obtain complete compliance by the respondent with this chapter; and/or
Restraining orders and temporary or permanent injunctions as are necessary to obtain complete compliance with this chapter.
Each day such a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter.
The Town Attorney may institute criminal action to punish a violation of this chapter by imprisonment for a term not exceeding thirty (30) days if the above proceeding does not result in compliance with this chapter.
Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice, as defined in § 71-3 of this chapter, shall have a cause of action in any court of competent jurisdiction within one (1) year from the date of occurrence for damages and such other remedies as may be appropriate. The court may:
Award actual damages, including but not limited to damages for mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation;
Award punitive damages;
Award reasonable attorney's fees in the case of a prevailing plaintiff; and/or
Grant as relief, as it deems appropriate, any permanent or temporary injunction, temporary restraining order or other order. No bond shall be required prior to the issuance of injunctive relief.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit the rights of the complainant to pursue, at any time prior to or after the filing complaint, any other remedies which the complainant may have under any law of the state, the United States or any jurisdiction. And the pursuit of one (1) or more remedies available under this chapter shall not preclude the pursuit of any other remedy available under this chapter.
Immediately after the enactment of this chapter, the Town of West Seneca shall commence educational activities which will explain the law and help to promote the town's housing goals. Such activities shall continue while this chapter remains in force.
Any court in which a proceeding under this chapter is instituted shall assign the case for hearing at the earliest practicable date and cause the case to be in every way expedited.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to invalidate or limit any law of the state, the United States or any other jurisdiction that grants, guarantees or protects the same rights as are granted, guaranteed or protected by this chapter.