Unlock NYC

Tools for a fair housing search


Do landlords keep saying "no" to your voucher? Use our tools to record it and report it – right from your phone.

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  • Woman with red hair and glasses, looking off to the left

    "They said my income and credit score were too low."

    Ever been denied an apartment because you don't have a 700 credit score? If your voucher covers 100% of your rent, landlords shouldn't be using your credit score against you. You can report that!

    Does this experience sound familiar? Learn how to spot, record, and report discrimination.

  • Woman on a laptop computer

    "I was flat-out told, 'we don't take vouchers here.'"

    The vast majority of apartments in New York City are covered by either the NYC or the NYS Human Rights Law. These laws prohibit landlords from turning down prospective tenants simply because they have a voucher.

    If you hear the phrase "no vouchers," you can report that! You can take action every time a landlord denies you an apartment.

  • Man in a wheelchair and glasses, facing to the left

    "You don't meet the minimum income requirements."

    As long as you are looking for housing within your voucher price point, income requirements shouldn't apply to you. If you're told "you need to make 40x the rent" or "vouchers don't count as income," report it!

    Has a broker recently used income requirements to deny you an apartment? You can report it using our tools!

  • Woman with blue hair and glasses, reading from a book

    "They said the unit was no longer available."

    Brokers often pretend that a unit is off the market if they don't want to rent to you. Or, they'll show you a different unit in significantly worse conditions, or in a different neighborhood. This practice, called "steering," is illegal, and you can report that!

    Has this happened to you recently? That's not right - take action and report it now!

  • Person in backwards cap, looking at smartphone

    "They said the landlord only takes Section 8, not CityFHEPS."

    Landlords can't pick and choose which vouchers or programs they accept. If they own more than 6 units, by New York City law, a landlord must accept all rental assistance programs. If a landlord tries to turn you down because of your voucher, you can report that!

    Your voucher is a valid source of income. Learn more about how the NYC Human Rights Law protects you as a voucher holder.

  • Woman carrying a purse, with her child looking up at her

    "Only professionals live here. You must be working."

    As long as your voucher amount covers the rent for the apartment you're interested in, a landlord can't require proof of employment. If a landlord only allows "professionals" in their building, you can report that!

    Are you looking to rent a place with a voucher? Learn how to identify and take action against discrimination.

  • Woman sitting and looking at her smartphone

    "The broker stopped responding after I mentioned my voucher."

    Ghosting is a common discriminatory tactic that can be hard to recognize. If a broker stops responding to your texts, calls, or e-mails after you mention your voucher, or gives you the runaround, you can report that!

    If you've been ghosted by a broker, know that you're not alone. Learn how to catch and report ghosting.

  • Woman wearing glasses, looking up and thinking

    "He said he'd check with the landlord and call me back. He never did."

    Brokers often pretend they need to check whether the landlord accepts vouchers to get you off the phone, and then never call you back. If you experience this kind of behavior, you can report that!

    Housing discrimination is often hiding in plain sight. Learn the sneaky phrases brokers often use to discriminate.

  • Woman with glasses sitting on the ground, looking up

    "The broker said I needed to pay extra because of my voucher."

    Brokers can't ask you for extra money on the side. It's unprofessional – and illegal. If someone demands a bribe to view or hold an apartment, or proposes that you pay extra rent under the table, you can report that!

    Has a broker ever tried to extort you for more money? Report it!

It should be easier to find a home with your voucher.

If you’ve been having a hard time finding a home with a voucher in New York City, it’s not your fault. Vouchers are supposed to help tenants find a home in cities with limited affordable housing options – and guess what? They’re a totally legitimate way to pay your rent! The vast majority of landlords in NYC are required by law to accept vouchers. And yet, landlords and brokers are turning down New Yorkers like you, every day.

You deserve to be treated equally during your search for housing, no matter your situation. Whether you’ve been living in a family shelter, staying with friends or relatives, or you’re looking to move from your current place, you have the right to a fair housing search. We’re making it easier by offering free and friendly tools you can use to record and report discrimination.

Keep Hearing "We Don't Take Vouchers?"
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Questions

Why should I report?

When you use your voice to report where discrimination is happening, who’s doing it, and what it sounds like, you’re helping paint a clearer picture of discrimination – so that together we can better push back against it! With your help, we can hold landlords and brokers accountable for breaking the law and push for policies that make vouchers work.

Do you have a list of apartments I can apply for?

We’re not brokers! We offer tools and tips to support you throughout the apartment search process. Our goal here is to ensure every New Yorker can search for and find a home without facing discrimination due to their voucher.

How do you keep my reports and information secure?

We are an independent group that is not affiliated with any real estate management company, landlord, brokering agency, housing authority, or homeless shelter services. You can choose to report anonymously, and we will never share your personal information without your permission.

How is using Unlock NYC different from calling 311?

When you report through Unlock NYC, your report can do more.

If you request a formal investigation and attach evidence, we can send it to the city on your behalf – just like if you called 311.

But, in addition, your report will also help change the system by making data about voucher discrimination available to the community-based organizations and advocates who are leading the movement to end it. Our partners use our reports to understand patterns about voucher discrimination – who's doing it, where it's happening, what it sounds like – so they can focus their attention and resources where they're most needed.

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