Immigrants Face Specific Housing Issues

According to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, “The right to adequate housing is a human rights law.” Immigration status can affect the process of renting and owning a home. Immigration and housing has not been talked about enough. With rent and property prices increasing, New York’s housing crisis continues to grow, leaving immigrants vulnerable. New York’s City immigrant population are more likely to live in overcrowded homes in addition to paying high rent.

The Make the Road New York advocacy group states that close to 900,000 of immigrants live in apartments without any tenant protections. Undocumented immigrants are at more risks of exploitation. Landlords overcharge, ignore maintenance, and threaten to report them to immigration authorities.

Oftentimes when apartment or house hunting, the realtor requires the potential buyer to put down about 40% of their income. Many people cannot afford this. As a result, people try to acquire a loan through the bank or through a private lender. In many cases, people do not have a long credit history or don’t have a credit history which means that a bank will not give a loan. This leaves many immigrants to get a loan from a private lender who often have extremely high interest rates compared to the banks which many people are stuck choosing because they need a home.

Furthermore, the pandemic has not made it easy for many people. Unemployment had increased leaving many with little to no income causing people to leave or be forced out of their homes. In response on June 14th, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams released the “Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness” an initiative to handle New York City’s affordable housing crisis. The blueprint includes the creation of 15,000 supportive homes and getting New Yorkers into safe, high quality, affordable housing faster than ever before and reliving past trauma by waiving irrelevant paperwork.

According to the New York Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, “All New Yorkers deserve fairness and respect when looking for renting an apartment. Landlords cannot: Refuse to rent an apartment because of someone’s immigration status, nationality, or religious beliefs.” There are a multitude of other statements that state that landlords cannot discriminate against one’s immigration status.

We Can Help

Migration Resource Center views each case as unique; therefore, it is essential to consult with legal counsel before starting your case as some other options may be available. Of course, you may always contact us to begin your consultation. Please call us at (646) 609-8805 or use our webform to schedule a free immigration consultation.

Additional Resources: 

If you are treated differently, please call 311 and say “Human Rights” to file a report with the NYC Commission on Human Rights.