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Kramarsky v. Stahl Management

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Pierce alleged that Defendant rejected her rent application because she was black. Plaintiff sought a temporary restraining order enjoining Defendant from renting the apartment in question to anyone other than Pierce until administrative proceedings with the Division of Human Rights were resolved. The court issued an order to show cause to Defendant.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A lessor may refuse to lease premises to a prospective tenant as long as the refusal is not based on the applicant’s race, creed, religion, nation of origin, sex, disability, or marital status.

    Facts.

    Judith Pierce (Pierce), a divorced black woman, attempted to rent an apartment from Stahl Management (Defendant), however Defendant rented the apartment to a white person. Pierce alleged racial discrimination. Kramarsky (Plaintiff), a commissioner of the State Division of Human Rights, filed this suit. Defendant responded that Pierce was rejected because she indicated that she was an attorney and Defendant felt that she would be a troublesome tenant. Defendant showed that many of the units were rented to blacks and singles

    Issue.

    Whether a lessor may refuse to lease premises to a prospective tenant as long as the refusal is not based on the applicant’s race, creed, religion, nation of origin, sex, disability, or marital status.

    Held.

    Yes. The temporary restraining order is vacated. A lessor may refuse to lease premises to a prospective tenant as long as the refusal is not based on the applicant’s race, creed, religion, nation of origin, sex, disability, or marital status.

    Discussion.

    Unless there is a contrary provision of law, a landlord is free to do as she pleases with her property and to rent or not rent to anyone. Profession is not recognized as a protected category.The prohibition against discrimination based on race, creed, religion, nation of origin, sex, disability, or marital status is statutorily created. Defendant alleges that the refusal was based on Pierce’s profession as an attorney and that she would be a troublesome tenant. Defendant also showed that there are black and single tenants. It is unlikely that Pierce will be able to show housing discrimination.


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