The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, reinstated a permanent injunction prohibiting the landlord from refusing “Section 8” vouchers for rent, The refusal violated the West Seneca Fair Housing Code (WSFHC) which prohibits discrimination based upon a person’s source of income:
WSFHC § 71-3 (A) provides that “[i]t shall be unlawful . . . [t]o refuse to sell or rent or refuse to negotiate for the sale or deny a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, handicap, national origin, source of income or because the person has a child or children” (emphasis added). Remedial legislation such as WSFHC § 71-3 (A) ” should be liberally construed to carry out the reforms intended and to promote justice’ ” … . ” A liberal construction . . . is one [that] is in the interest of those whose rights are to be protected, and if a case is within the beneficial intention of a remedial act it is deemed within the statute [or ordinance], though actually it is not within the letter of the law’ ” … .
We conclude … that Section 8 vouchers constitute a “source of income” under WSFHC § 71-3 (A). Such vouchers are plainly a recurrent benefit, measured in terms of money, that constitute financial gain to the recipient. Although the term “source of income” is undefined in the WSFHC, similar ordinances enacted in other local codes have expressly included Section 8 vouchers as a source of income … , which suggests that such vouchers are a “source of income” under the broad language of the WSFHC. People v Ivybrooke Equity Enters., LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op 06299, Fourth Dept 8-22-19