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April was Fair Housing Month in county

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CANTON - In recognition of the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act, the county Board of Legislators passed a resolution that proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month.

Enacted in 1968, the Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination based on a person’s race or color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability.

To commemorate Fair Housing Month, and to raise public awareness that housing discrimination is against the law, the county’s Fair Housing Task Force printed and distributed color posters to nearly 270 different schools, banks, realtors and non-profit organizations throughout the county.

The Task Force has also revised a model rental lease that may be used between landlords and tenants.The lease was revised over a series of months and included input from the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Bar Association.

New or expanded components of the revised lease include: honoring the lease when a rental unit is sold to a new property owner; early lease terminations for active military personnel, senior citizens and victims of domestic violence; and a tenant’s remedies for loss of service.

The rental lease also includes provisions for tenants when a unit is weatherized or repaired with state or federal funds; and provisions for landlords and tenants who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

The revised lease is available at: www.co.st-lawrence.ny.us/Departments/Planning/AdvisoryBoards/FairHousingTaskForce

The primary intent of the Fair Housing Task Force is to promote equal housing opportunity of a person’s choice.Persons who feel their housing rights have been violated are encouraged to contact the Task Force.

Task Force members include representatives from the Office for the Aging, Ministry of the North Country, Potsdam Neighborhood Center, the Legal Aid Society of Northern New York and the village of Potsdam.Presently the Task Force is seeking representatives from the banking and real estate industry who would be willing to participate in meetings that are held everyothermonth.

The Fair Housing Task Force can be reached at 379-2292 or planning@stlawco.org.

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