[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Goshen 11-21-1985 by L.L. No. 6-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall briefly be known as the "Fair Housing Local Law."
For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply to the following terms:
- Any difference in treatment based on race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry, including segregation, except that it shall not be discrimination for any religious or denominational institution to devote its facilities, exclusively or primarily, to or for members of its own religion or denomination or to give preference to such members or to make such selection as is calculated by such institution to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained.
- Includes this term as it is defined in § 4, Subdivision 4, of the Multiple Dwelling Law of the State of New York.
- Includes this term as it is defined in § 4, Subdivision 5, of the Multiple Dwelling Law of the State of New York.
- HOUSING ACCOMMODATION
- Includes any building, structure or portion thereof which is used or occupied, as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings.
- Includes physical possession by the owner and/or his family or technical possession by retention of title and nonreliquishment of possession to someone else by rental or otherwise.
- TEMPORARY PERIOD
- A period not to exceed one year where an owner relinquishes possession of his housing accommodation for a period not exceeding one year with intent to return to said housing accommodations within said one-year period, or less, as a permanent domicile.
Except as otherwise provided in this section, no lessee, sublessee, assignee, real estate broker, real estate salesman, managing agent or commercial lender, such as banks, savings and loan associations and insurance companies, or other person who rents, leases, subleases, assigns, transfers, finances or otherwise disposes of housing, or an agent of these shall:
Refuse to sell or rent to, deal or negotiate with any person.
Discriminate in terms or conditions for buying or renting housing.
Discriminate by advertising that housing is available only to persons of a certain race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rent when it really is available.
Blockbust for profit; i.e., persuade owners to sell or rent housing by telling them that minority groups are moving into the neighborhood.
Deny or make different terms or conditions for home loans by commercial lenders, such as banks, savings and loan associations and insurance companies.
Deny to anyone the use or participation in any real estate services, such as brokers' organizations, multiple listing services or other facilities related to the selling or renting of housing.
Housing types covered by the Fair Housing Laws.
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.
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 most recent resident of such house prior to such sale, the exemption granted by this subsection shall apply only with respect to one such sale within any twenty-four-month period.
Such 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 or any right to all or a portion of the proceeds from the sale or rental of more than three such single-family houses at any one time.
After December 31, 1969, 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.
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.
There is hereby appointed a Fair Housing Officer. Such Officer shall be appointed by the Supervisor with the advice and consent of the Town Board. The person appointed shall be a resident of the Town of Goshen and shall serve without compensation. He or she may be removed by the Supervisor with the consent of the Town Board for inefficiency, neglect of duty, excessive absenteeism, misconduct or malfeasance in office, after being given a written statement of the charges and an opportunity to be heard thereon.
The Fair Housing Officer shall have the following functions, powers and duties:
To establish and maintain its principal office at the Town Hall.
To formulate policies, rules and procedures and the necessary forms required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
To issue such publications and such results of investigations and research as in his or her judgement will tend to promote good will and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
To consult with local realtors, housing developers and home-builders and commercial lenders on their fair housing responsibilities.
To review existing and proposed revisions to local land use plans and controls to determine any inconsistencies with the purposes of this chapter.
To investigate all complaints alleging violations of this chapter.
To submit each year to the Supervisor and to the Town Board a full written report of all fair housing activities and such recommendations as may be required to better effectuate the purposes of this chapter.
The Orange County Legislature has established an Orange County Human Rights Commission whose charge it is in part to foster mutual respect and understanding among all racial, religious and nationality groups in Orange County.
Additionally, the Commission is charged with the power to receive complaints of alleged discrimination because of race, creed, color or national origin and to seek solutions to such complaints.
Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a violator of § 59-3 hereof may, by him or herself or his or her attorney-at-law, make, sign and file with the Fair Housing Officer a written verified complaint which shall state the name and address of the owner or other person alleged to have committed the act of discrimination complained of and shall set forth the particulars of the alleged violation and such other information as may be required by the Officer or Board. Such complaint shall be filed within 60 days after the alleged act of discrimination.
After the filing of a complaint, the Fair Housing Officer shall make a prompt investigation in connection therewith. If, after such investigation, the Officer determines that probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, he or she shall immediately endeavor to eliminate the unlawful discriminatory practice, and the Officer shall state his or her finding of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on the complainant an order dismissing said complaint as to such respondent.
In case of failure to eliminate the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of, he or she shall cause to be issued and served in the name of the Orange County Human Rights Commission, a written notice, together with a copy of such complaint, hereinafter referred to as "respondent." to answer the charges of such complaint at a hearing before the Commission, at a time and place specified in such notice. The case in support of the complaint shall be presented by the complainant or his attorney. The Fair Housing Officer shall not participate in the hearing except as a witness. Nor shall be or she participate in the deliberation of the Commission in such case; and the aforesaid endeavor at conciliation and persuasion shall not be received in evidence. The respondent may file a written verified answer to the complaint and appear at such hearing in person or otherwise, with or without counsel, and submit testimony. The Commission, or the complainant, shall have the power to reasonably and fairly amend any complaint and the respondent shall have like power to amend his answer. The Commission 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 recorded. If, upon all the evidence at the hearing the Commission shall find that a respondent has engaged in any unlawful discriminatory practice as defined in this chapter, the Commission shall state 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 such affirmative action as may be indicated to effectuate the provisions of this chapter. If, upon all the evidence, the Commission shall find that a respondent has not engaged in any such unlawful discriminatory practice, the Commission shall state its finding of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on the complainant an order dismissing said complaint as to such respondent. A copy of its order shall be delivered in all cases to the Fair Housing Officer.
The provisions of this chapter shall be construed liberally for the accomplishment of the purposes thereof. Nothing contained in this chapter shall be deemed to repeal any of the provisions of the civil rights laws or any other law of this state relating to discrimination because of race, creed, color or national origin. The procedure herein provided shall, while pending, be exclusive, and the final determination therein shall exclude any other action, civil or criminal, based on the same grievance of the individual concerned. If such individual institutes any action based on such grievance without resorting to the procedure provided in this chapter, he may not subsequently resort to the procedure herein.