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William Bost…, Other/Just Looking in New York

Lease application and fair housing laws

Asked by William Boston, New York Sun Feb 17, 2013

Can a lease application from a landlord or management company ask for the citizenship and visa status of the applicant? What should an agent representing the prospective tenant do in this situation?

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Hi William. This sounds like a question from a seminar or licensure class.

We're a bunch of brokers here. This question is better asked of a Real Estate Attorney. New York State does issue a Tenants Rights booklet and I've gone throught it in relation to this question. While there is a discrimination section, there is no specific mention of citizenship or visa status as being discriminatory or a protected class. In this case it might seem inappropriate but it doesn't seem to be discriminatory and if not discriminatory, documentation could be provided.

Again, I would ask an Attorney. BTW, I've not come upon a lease application asking for this status but things are constantly changing and it wouldn't surprise me.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2013

Still haven't got your License yet?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2013
In California we can't ask about citizenship or visa status, we can only confirm criminal background information and determine if the applicant has the ability to pay rent (employment).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
If you are an agent, ask your broker owner and or office manager the question...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2013
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