City of Oneida, NY
Madison County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Oneida 12-21-1982 as Ch. 4-6.5 of the 1982 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarms — See Ch. 5.
Building construction — See Ch. 34.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 61.
Health and sanitation — See Ch. 73.
Housing standards — See Ch. 77.

§ 53-1 Policy.

The Common Council hereby finds and declares it to be the public policy of the city to promote fair dealing in real estate transactions, to maintain community stability and security and to foster racial and social harmony. This chapter is adopted in order to reinforce this policy and to supplement the federal and state laws pertaining to fair housing.

§ 53-2 Definitions.

[Amended 12-3-1991 by Ord. No. 91-10]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings and interpretations indicated, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
DISCRIMINATE
Extend differential treatment on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap or marital status or family status, and including discrimination because of the race, color, creed, national origin, sex, handicap or marital status of friends and associates, or familial status.
DWELLING
Any building, structure or portion thereof which is occupied as or designed and intended for occupancy as a residence by one or more families or any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure or portion thereof.
FAIR HOUSING OFFICER
The Director of Community Development in the city.
A. 
Includes one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) being domiciled with:
(1) 
A parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals; or
(2) 
The designee of such parent or other person having such custody, with the written permission of such parent or other person.
B. 
The protections afforded against discrimination on the basis of familial status shall apply to any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.
FAMILY
Includes a single individual.
HANDICAP
Includes a bodily or mental disablement which may be the result of injury, illness or congenital condition for which reasonable accommodation can be made.
HOUSING ACCOMMODATION
Includes any building, structure or portion thereof 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 human beings.
LEASE
Includes sublease, assignment and rental and includes any contract to do any of the foregoing.
LENDING INSTITUTION
Any bank, insurance company, savings and loan association, other person in the business of obtaining, arranging or negotiating loans or guaranties as agent or broker, and any person in the business of buying or selling loans or instruments for the payment of money which are secured by title to or a security interest in real property, but shall not include any religious institution or organization nor any charitable or educational organization operated, supervised or controlled by a religious institution or organization.
MARITAL STATUS
Includes the state of being married, single, divorced, separated or widowed and the usual conditions associated therewith, including pregnancy or parenthood.
OWNER
Includes any person, or any one of a number of persons, in whom is vested all or any part of the legal or equitable ownership, dominion or title to any real property.

§ 53-3 Prohibited acts.

[Amended 12-3-1991 by Ord. No. 91-10]
A. 
No person who receives or expects to receive pecuniary gain from the sale or rental of real property shall:
(1) 
Refuse to sell, lease, rent, furnish services or otherwise deny or withhold any housing accommodation constructed or to be constructed in the city to any person or refuse to negotiate for the lease or rental of housing accommodation or otherwise make unavailable to any person by reason of the race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap or marital status or familial status of such person.
(2) 
Represent to any person that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available.
(3) 
Discriminate against any person because of his race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap, marital status or familial status in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental or lease of any housing accommodation constructed or to be constructed.
(4) 
Discriminate in the furnishing of information, services or facilities to any person in connection with the sale or rental of real property because of the race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap, marital status or familial status of such person.
(5) 
Print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any statement, advertisement or publication, or use any form or application for the purchase, lease or rental of any housing accommodation, or make any record or inquiry in connection with the prospective purchase, lease or rental of any housing accommodation which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap, marital status or familial status, or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination.
(6) 
Display listings or show prospective purchasers or renters units for sale or lease on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap, marital status, or familial status, or display listings or show prospects units for sale or lease in areas of the city based on race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap, marital status, or familial status.
(7) 
Induce a real estate transaction from which any such person may benefit financially, by representing that a change has occurred or will or may occur in the composition of the block, neighborhood or area with respect to the race, creed, color, national origin, handicap, marital status or family status of the owners or occupants in the block, neighborhood or area in which the real property is located, and to represent, directly or indirectly, that this change will or may result in undesirable consequences in the block, neighborhood or area in which the real property is located, including but not limited to the physical deterioration of dwellings, the lowering of property values, and increase in criminal or antisocial behavior, or a decline in the quality of schools or other facilities.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any real estate broker or dealer, or any agent or employee of a real estate broker or dealer, to influence or attempt to influence any other person who purports or represents himself to be a prospective purchaser, seller, occupant or tenant or landlord of real property to purchase, sell or rent or to refrain from purchasing or renting or selling real property by referring to the race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap, marital status or familial status of occupants or prospective occupants of other real property in the area.
C. 
No bank, trust company, savings bank, savings and loan association or other lending institution, insurance company, finance company or financial services company, to whom application is made for financial assistance for the purchase, acquisition, construction, improvement, repair or maintenance of housing on behalf of such person shall discriminate against any applicant because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap, marital status or familial status in the granting, withholding, extending or renewing or in the fixing of the amount, interest rate, duration or other terms or conditions of any such financial assistance nor shall any such institution refuse financial assistance because such housing accommodation lies in a particular area of the city, if real property is located within the geographic area ordinarily served by such bank or within the community within which the principal or any branch office of such banks is located. For the purpose of this section, "discrimination" shall include refusal to make loans, differentiating in the type or terms of loans, including interest rates, charges to buyer and seller, duration and amount of loans, influencing appraisals in connection with loans or delaying of loan applications.
D. 
No person shall aid, abet, incite, compel or coerce the doing of any of the acts forbidden under this chapter, or attempt to do so. This section may be enforced by appropriate civil actions.
E. 
No person engaged in any of the prohibited acts as hereinabove defined shall retaliate or discriminate against any person because such person has filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under the article.

§ 53-4 Exceptions.

[Amended 12-3-1991 by Ord. No. 91-10]
A. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to apply to:
(1) 
The rental of a housing accommodation in a building which contains housing accommodations for not more than two families living independently of each other, if the owner or members of his family reside in one of such housing accommodations.
(2) 
The restriction of the rental of all rooms in a housing accommodation to individuals of the same sex.
(3) 
The rental of a room or rooms in a housing accommodation, if such rental is by the occupant of the housing accommodation or by the owner of the housing accommodation and he or members of his family reside in such housing accommodation.
B. 
This section shall in no manner prevent the requirement for additional structural, emergency alarm and/or fire prevention precautions as may be required by any ordinance, nor shall it be interpreted to prevent enforcement of local building code and zoning requirements and use limitations for special residence facilities, as defined by local law. This chapter shall not be interpreted to allow for any unilateral change in occupancy or creation of special occupancy uses licensed or regulated by the state, without first obtaining all required permits and certificates of occupancy to ascertain full compliance with local laws and building codes.
C. 
Nothing in this chapter shall require an owner to offer for sale or lease real property to the public at large, nor shall this chapter be deemed to prohibit discrimination for any reason other than race, creed, color, national origin, sex, handicap, marital status, or familial status and not otherwise prohibited by law.

§ 53-5 Duty of fair housing officer.

It shall be the duty of the Fair Housing Officer to initiate, receive and investigate written complaints charging discrimination, make findings of fact, seek conciliation of such complaints, seek compliance by violators and take all other actions as authorized by law.

§ 53-6 Complaints.

A. 
Any person aggrieved in any manner by a violation of any provision of this chapter may file a written complaint with the Fair Housing Officer or his designee. The complaint shall be addressed to the Fair Housing Officer and shall state:
(1) 
The name and address of the complainant;
(2) 
The name and address of the person or persons against whom the complainant is brought, if known to the complainant;
(3) 
The address of the property involved;
(4) 
The name and address of all persons believed to have knowledge concerning the alleged violation;
(5) 
The facts surrounding the alleged violation of this chapter; and
(6) 
Such other information as may be required by the Fair Housing Officer.
B. 
The Fair Housing Officer shall provide a printed form of complaint for the use of aggrieved persons. No fee shall be charged for the filing of the complaint. Any complaint shall be barred from consideration unless it is filed with the Fair Housing Officer or his designee within six months after the alleged discriminatory practice has occurred. The Fair Housing Officer may end the time for filing the complaint for an additional 60 days when conciliation efforts are pending.
C. 
The Fair Housing Officer shall furnish a copy of the complaint, to the person or persons against whom the complaint is brought, in person or by certified mail within five business days of receipt of the complaint from the complainant. The Fair Housing Officer shall investigate the complaint and determine whether or not, in his opinion, probable cause exists for believing that the allegations made in the complaint are true. If, after such investigation, the Fair Housing Officer determines that probable cause does not exist to believe that the allegations made in the complaint are true, he shall dismiss the complaint and shall so notify the complainant and all other parties interested. If, after such investigation, the Fair Housing Officer determines that probable cause does exist to believe that the allegations made in the complaint are true, he shall set a date for a conference and notify the parties of the time and place thereof; at such conference, the Fair Housing Officer shall interview the complainant and the person or persons against whom the complaint has been directed and shall attempt to resolve the complaint by conciliation.
D. 
The Fair Housing Officer is authorized to hold closed meetings for conciliation of complaints of discrimination brought pursuant to this chapter. Nothing said or done in the course of such meetings shall be made public by the Fair Housing Officer, the complainant or by any other party to the proceedings without the written consent of all persons concerned.
E. 
If the Fair Housing Officer has been unable to secure voluntary compliance, and if he has made a determination of the probable occurrence of one or more of the prohibited acts as hereinabove defined, the Fair Housing Officer may request the City Attorney to institute and maintain an action provided for below. The City Attorney shall, within 30 days of such request, make a determination as to whether to proceed with such action. If the City Attorney determines to proceed, he shall institute an action in a court of competent jurisdiction within 30 days after such determination.

§ 53-7 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
The City Attorney, on behalf of the city, may institute and maintain an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to restrain by injunction any violation of this chapter, or to impose any fines or to enter a judgment for any penalties provided for violations of this chapter.
B. 
Upon a finding by the court that any person has engaged in any of the acts prohibited in this chapter, he shall be punished as provided in § 1-14 of this Code.

§ 53-8 Prevention of multiplicity of proceedings.

In order to prevent multiplicity of proceedings, the provisions of this chapter shall not be operative where there is pending or there has been a determination in any other proceeding or action authorized under laws or ordinances of another governmental body based upon the identical acts or acts prohibited under § 53-3 of this chapter.