Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Do you charge a fee for your services?

Long Island Housing Services never charges a fee for its counseling or investigative or advocacy services to individuals seeking help. Fees may be charged for training sessions contracted by corporate housing providers (e.g., management companies, real estate agencies).


Can I get help on the phone or should I meet with you in person?

Our counselors are available by phone, email and in person meetings to help you with housing problems. Please call us at 631-567-5111 or email us at info@lifairhousing.org for an initial consultation.


Will my information remain confidential?

Yes.


Can Long Island Housing Services help me find an apartment?

No. Long Island Housing Services is not a housing placement agency. We do not conduct housing searches. Long Island Housing Services can advise prospective renters and buyers about conducting a housing search, housing programs or subsidies available, and rights to equal treatment and opportunity in making the choice about where to live.


Will Long Island Housing Services represent me in court or provide legal counsel if I want to sue a landlord for discrimination or for another valid reason?

Depending on the circumstances involved we can assist you in establishing your case and finding legal counsel in cases involving unlawful discrimination. Long Island Housing Services may assist in gathering evidence and initiating legal challenges to discrimination in Federal Court or through a government enforcement agency empowered to enforce Fair Housing Laws. Depending on our level of Long Island Housing Services’ involvement and available resources, we may act as a non-attorney advocate to ensure that victim’s issues and evidence is properly represented. In cases related to landlord-tenant disputes, Long Island Housing Services does not provide representation but recommends that tenants obtain legal counsel if a court appearance is required.


What should I do first if I feel I am the victim of housing discrimination?

Write down the facts about how you were treated, noting relevant ads, dates, times, names, addresses, and other important details. Contact us for a consultation at 631-567-5111 ext 375.


What is the best way to approach my landlord about a problem?

Always in writing. Documenting everything is important and adds to your credibility. Visit our Resources section for sample letters to guide you.


If the bank is trying to foreclose on my home, what paperwork will I need in order for you to help me keep my home?

Call our housing counselors and explain your situation. They will walk you through the steps and paperwork needed for us to help you.


If I’m a first-time homebuyer but I don’t qualify for public grants or help, can you still help me?

Yes. Contact us and our First-Time Homebuyer counselor will help you.


Does Long Island Housing Services help find a home for first-time homebuyers?

No. We only counsel first-time homebuyers on their readiness to become a homeowner and the process of buying a home. While Long Island Housing Services does not act as a realty agent to search for housing, our staff can offer guidance as to what to expect in the search. Long Island Housing Services also supports your rights as a prospective purchaser to choose where you prefer to live and to expect equal treatment and services without discrimination or illegal steering.


I am a tenant who has fallen behind in my rent. Can you give me rent money?

No. Long Island Housing Services does not have a financial “help fund.” However, we can advise you of your rights and the way to avoid homelessness. We may also be able to connect you with services or agencies who can help you financially.

If I’m a landlord with tenant problems, will you help me?

Yes. We can provide useful information to assist both tenants and landlords in resolving disputes. Long Island Housing Services’ purpose in offering assistance is to try to improve and stabilize housing conditions.


I am a tenant who has learned that my apartment is illegal. Can I get assistance?

Yes. Tenants can assert their rights to proper housing conditions and treatment under NYS Real Property Law, whether or not the landlord has registered with the Town to obtain a rental permit.


How does Section 8 Housing work?

Section 8 is now known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Those meeting income and other eligibility requirements pay a portion of the rent and the remainder is paid by a subsidy to help afford the cost of rent in LI’s high-cost market. Interested applicants can obtain information from the Town in which they wish to reside, or by calling CDC of LI (631-471-1215) or by visiting HUD’s website: www.HUD.gov.


What are the special provisions under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 that pertain only to people with disabilities?

If you meet the definition of a person with a disability, you have the right to request and receive a “reasonable accommodation.” (A housing provider’s obligation may include waiving usual rules, policies, practices, or offering added services when such accommodations will allow access and ability to use and enjoy housing.) A housing provider must also allow for “reasonable modification.” Reasonable modifications refer to structural changes like a widened doorway to allow wheelchair passage.