[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Waterford 12-6-2005 by L.L. No. 1-2005. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purpose of providing and ensuring fair housing opportunities for all within the Town of Waterford, the Town Board of the Town of Waterford, in the County of Saratoga, State of New York, under the authority of the General Municipal and Town Laws, hereby obtains, enacts, and publishes this chapter.
General. For the purpose of this chapter, certain words or phrases herein shall be interpreted as follows, except where the context clearly indicated the contrary: words used in the singular include the plural, words in the present tense include the future tense, the word "person" includes a corporation as well as an individual, and the word "shall" is always mandatory.
Specific words or phrases. For the purpose of this chapter, certain terms or words herein shall be interpreted as follows:
- Any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof.
- Includes one or more individuals, corporations, partnerships, associations, labor organizations, legal representatives, mutual companies, joint-stock companies, trusts, unincorporated organizations, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, receivers, and fiduciaries.
- Includes a single individual.
- TO RENT
- Includes to lease, to sublease, to let and otherwise to grant for a consideration the right to occupy premises not owned by the occupant.
Except as exempted by § 81-4, it shall be unlawful within the Town of Waterford:
To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
To make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed or published, any notice, statement, or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make such preference, limitation, or discrimination.
To represent to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available.
For profit, to induce or attempt to induce any person to sell or rent any dwelling by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
It shall be unlawful within the Town of Waterford, for any bank, building and loan association, insurance company, or other corporation, association, firm, or enterprise whose business consists in whole or in part in the making of commercial real estate loans to deny a loan or other financial assistance to a person applying thereof for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining a dwelling; or to discriminate against him in the fixing of the amount, interest rate, duration or other terms or conditions of such loan or other financial assistance because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin of such person or of any person associated with him in connection with such loan or other financial assistance, or the purpose of such loan or other financial assistance, or of the present or prospective owners, lessees, tenants, or occupants of the dwelling or dwellings in relation to which such loan or other financial assistance is to be made or given, provided, that nothing contained in this section shall impair the scope or effectiveness of the exception contained in § 81-6.
It shall be unlawful within the Town of Waterford to deny any person access to or membership or participation in any multiple-listing service, real estate broker's organization, or other services, organization, or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings; or to discriminate against him in the terms or conditions of such access, membership, or participation on account of race, color, religion, sex handicap, familial status, or national origin.
Sales/rentals by religious organizations. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization, operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, from limiting the sale, rental or occupancy of dwellings which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion, or from giving preference to such persons, unless membership in such religion is restricted on account of race, color, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. Nor shall anything in this chapter prohibit a private club not in fact open to the public, which as an incident to its primary purpose or purposes provides lodgings which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose, from limiting the rental of occupancy of such lodgings to its members or from giving preference to its members.
Authority and responsibility. The authority and responsibility for publicizing, administering, and enforcing this chapter shall be the Town's Fair Housing Officer, to be designated by the Supervisor of the Town of Waterford.
Violations. Violations of this chapter shall be reported in person or in writing to the Town's Attorney/Fair Housing Officer within a year of the alleged discriminatory housing practice.
Enforcement. Where sufficient cause exists to believe that the terms of this chapter have been violated, the Fair Housing Officer shall institute a suit in the appropriate court against the alleged violator within 120 days following the issuance of the charge.
Penalties for offenses. Where a person or organization has been found, after a trial on the merits, in violation of this chapter, a fine shall be imposed on such person or organization not to exceed $1,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for third offense. Each and every separate violation of this chapter shall be deemed an offense for the purpose of imposing the appropriate fine.
Amendment. The Town Board may, on its own initiative or on petition, amend, supplement, or repeal the provisions of this chapter in conformity with applicable law after public notice and hearing.
Interpretation. In their interpretation and application, the provisions of this chapter shall be held to the minimum requirements, adopted for the promotion of the public health, morals, safety or the general welfare. Whenever the requirements of this chapter are at variance with the requirements of any other lawfully adopted rules, regulations, or ordinances, the most restrictive, or that imposing the highest standards, shall govern.
Validity. The invalidity of any section or provision of this chapter shall not invalidate any other section or provision thereof.
Short title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as "The Town of Waterford Fair Housing Law."
When effective. This chapter shall take effect immediately upon adoption.