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  Housing Discrimination  
  Attention landlords:
Multiple Dwelling Reporting Rule (MDRR) Information & Forms
 
   
 
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits discrimination when selling or renting property. The law covers owners, agents, employees and brokers and makes it unlawful to refuse to rent, show or sell property based on a person's race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, familial status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, sex, or mental and physical disability, including AIDS and HIV-related illness. In addition, the LAD prohibits discrimination in the housing context based on one's source of lawful income or rent subsidy. Examples of sources of lawful income include, child support, alimony, gifts from family members, supplemental security income, etc. Other sources include assistance from a federal loan program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), state loan programs through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). Rent subsidies are programs where the individual qualifies for financial assistance through governmental programs. In this situation, a tenant or a potential tenant qualifies for rental assistance programs, through county and local housing authorities, or through the HUD section 8 program. The main difference between a loan and rental assistance through State or Federal agencies is that a subsidy need not be paid back to the lender while the same is not true in a loan assistance program. The LAD does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of age in a housing context. However, it is unlawful to discriminate against families with children, except in certain qualified housing developments intended specifically for older persons, which may be allowed to exclude children. The LAD also does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex where the property is planned exclusively for and occupied exclusively by individuals of one sex.
 
     
  By way of example, it is illegal for a landlord or real estate professional to refuse to rent:  
 
  • To a single mother with children, if this decision is made on the basis of her marital status or domestic partnership status;
  • A one bedroom apartment to two members of the same sex, if they are otherwise qualified
  • To an individual with a mental or physical disability. However, generally under the LAD, a landlord in an existing building is not required to modify the property to provide assistance to a person with a disability. On the other hand, the landlord is prohibited from charging extra fees for any accommodations provided to a person with a disability. For example, a landlord cannot charge a person with a disability extra rent for keeping a guide or service animal. The landlord is, however, entitled to reimbursement for damage done by a guide or service animal;
  • To an individual with a disability who relies on a guide or service animal, even if the facility does not permit pets;
  • To a person with AIDS or HIV infection or to someone perceived to have AIDS or HIV infection.
 
 
In addition, it is illegal to subject a renter, applicant, or home buyer to sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual contact, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.Harassment and differential treatment based on race, national origin or other protected characteristics is also unlawful.
 
  Landlords may require that a potential tenant complete an application with questions regarding the applicant's income, credit history and debts, as long as all prospective tenants are required to complete the same application and all tenants are selected on the basis of uniform standards. The form must not contain any reference to race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, sex, marital status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status or disability.
 
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