Constitutional Law – Civil Rights – Recent New York City Ordinance Bans Discrimination in Certain Private Housing Facilities

A recent New York City ordinance is the first anti-discrimination legislation affecting the sale and rental of privately-owned housing to minority groups. The ordinance contains three principal provisions: It (1) forbids racial or religious discrimination by private owners in the selection of tenants or buyers for any “housing accommodation which is located in a multiple dwelling,” (2) bans discrimination in the selection of purchasers by a seller of ten or more contiguous housing units, and (3) prohibits the owner or lessor of housing accommodations covered by the ordinance from discriminating because of race or religion in setting the terms of sale or rental, or in furnishing facilities or services to his renters or buyers. The ordinance does not contain any criminal penalties for violations of these provisions, but it does provide for administrative enforcement by “conciliation” and injunction proceedings in the courts when the normal procedure fails. New York Local Law 80 of 1957, New York City Administrative Code (1957) c. 41, tit. X.