NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Retirees may not be welcome in one Staten Island apartment building.

Margaretann Wilkinson said trying to get an apartment became an enormous challenge which, according to her, was age discrimination.

The 63 year-old Wilkinson recently hoped that she and her elderly father could move into a 17-story apartment house on Victory Boulevard. She told CBS 2’s John Slattery she submitted all the required paperwork.

Wilkinson said her income is sufficient to live in the building and that a woman at the Samson Management Corporation office told her she didn’t qualify because her income was solely from Social Security and a pension.

“She said to me, ‘oh it doesn’t matter, he’s not going to rent to you’ because you don’t have an income…an earned income,” Wilkinson said.

Slattery spoke with another tenant who said she faced the same policy, but didn’t particularly have an issue with it.

“They might have had problems in the past where they have people who come in who can’t pay rent,” the woman said.

A spokeswoman for Samson Management Corporation had no comment, but New York Assemblyman Matthew Titone had a lot to say about the case.

“It smacks of discrimination; of age discrimination,” Titone said.

Titone said it eliminates an entire category of potential renters.

“You are ruling out a whole class of citizens, our senior citizens, from where they ought to be allowed to rent,” Titone said.

A spokeswoman for the city’s Human Rights Commissioner said an amendment two years ago made it illegal to discriminate against a tenant as to the source of his or her income.

The New York Attorney General’s office is looking into the case as possible housing discrimination.


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