Finding a Place to Live

Fair Housing and Discrimination

City of Ithaca Housing Code

The City of Ithaca is committed to ensuring equal housing opportunities for all of its residents. Federal, state, and local laws protect tenants from discrimination in a wide range of situations. Protect yourself by knowing your rights. With your cooperation we can continue to make fair housing for all a reality in Ithaca.

Copies of the complete City of Ithaca Housing Code are available for a small fee from the Ithaca Building Department. The code is applicable to one- and two-family dwellings, multiple dwellings, and mobile homes and mobile courts.

If you feel you have been discriminated against, contact the Tompkins County Office of Human Rights. They assist persons who believe they have been discriminated against because of their race, color, sex, creed, national origin, age, disability, marital status, arrest record, or conviction record. The Office of Human Rights can assist in matters of employment, credit, housing, public accommodations, and education. The service is free to everyone.

Tompkins County Office of Human Rights
120 West Martin Luther King, Jr./State Street
Ithaca, New York 14850

Tel: (607) 277-4080   Fax: (607) 274-5505
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (appointment helpful but not required)

New York State Human Rights and Real Property Laws

The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on age, creed, national origin, sex, race, color, marital status, or disability (The City of Ithaca's Fair Housing Ordinance is modeled after the New York State Human Rights Law and additionally prohibits discrimination based on sexual preference).

The New York State Real Property Law prohibits discrimination against persons or families with children. A landlord or property manager cannot refuse to rent to you solely because you have a child or children, or ask you to move out solely because of pregnancy or a new child. This type of discrimination is a crime punishable by a fine, and you may sue a landlord for damages or secure a court order requiring the landlord to rent to you (your landlord may have to pay for your lawyer). This law does not apply to Federally subsidized housing for senior citizens.

These laws generally do not apply to

  • One- or two-unit owner-occupied homes.
  • Rental of room(s) in a house or apartment by the occupant or owner occupant.
  • The rental of room(s) in a house or apartment to only members of one gender.