A landlord with properties in upstate New York and Connecticut is being accused of discriminating against federal voucher holders.
Dawn Homes, which also has properties in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, allegedly either refused to accept federal housing vouchers or set up unfair income requirements for voucher holders. A complaint was filed by watchdog Westchester Residential Opportunities this month, according to LoHud.
Two years ago New York outlawed discriminating against renters based on income. Westchester, where the watchdog group is based, did the same at a local level in 2013.
Many voucher holders can’t meet a rental’s income requirements, which is why they are eligible for federal vouchers in the first place. New York state’s Division of Human Rights has said landlords cannot “set unreasonable income formulas.”
Westchester Residential Opportunities had testers call seven Dawn Homes properties and ask about renting apartments, posing as users of the Section 8 voucher program or Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program. After that disclosure, representatives from Dawn Homes allegedly mentioned illegal restrictions to get rid of the applicants.
Testing began in late 2019 and continued for nearly two years. According to the complaint, some testers were told that applicants must have income at least three times the annual rent — typically more than 50 percent or less of the area’s median income, which is what makes recipients eligible for Section 8.
A Dawn Homes spokesperson denied the charges and the director of marketing promised to investigate the allegations, LoHud reported.
Dawn Homes has properties in Albany, Syracuse, Ithaca, Rochester and the Hudson Valley, as well as in Danbury, Connecticut, according to the company’s website.[LoHud] — Holden Walter-Warner