The First Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Webber, determined plaintiff Estates, a leasing agent for multi-family apartment buildings in New York City, must accept a Human Resources Administration (HRA) security deposit voucher for an apartment. When the potential tenant, Walters, applied for an apartment, plaintiff’s employee told her the security deposit must be cash:
We find that the court correctly concluded that HRA’s security deposit vouchers are a “lawful source of income” under the City HRL [Human Rights Law] (Administrative Code § 8-102) and are therefore included in the HRL’s prohibition against discrimination by a landlord against a prospective tenant because of “any lawful source of income” (Administrative Code § 8-107[a]). “The term lawful source of income’ includes income derived from social security, or any form of federal, state or local public assistance or housing assistance including section 8 vouchers” … .
Administrative Code § 8-107(5) prohibits a landlord from refusing to accept a Section 8 voucher from an existing tenant or refusing a lease to a prospective tenant who seeks to pay rent with a Section 8 voucher … . …
Supreme Court correctly found that HRA’s security deposit voucher program does not violate Social Services Law § 143-c. * * *
Finally, we find that the voucher program does not violate the Urstadt Law (McKinney’s Uncons Laws of NY § 8605). “The Urstadt Law was intended to check City attempts, whether by local law or regulation, to expand the set of buildings subject to rent control or stabilization'” … . Here, a landlord’s acceptance of such security deposit vouchers “will have no impact in expanding the buildings subject to the rent stabilization law or expanding regulation under the rent laws” … . Estates NY Real Estate Servs. LLC v City of New York, 2020 NY Slip Op 03093, First Dept 5-28-20