NYS Human Rights Law Amendment Requires Notice of Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities

March 22, 2021 Advisory

NYS Human Rights Law §296, entitled “Unlawful Discriminatory Practices,” has been recently amended to require housing providers to “disclose to all tenants and prospective tenants of their right to request reasonable modifications and accommodations if they have a disability. . . ” (the “Disclosure”). Housing providers include those who have the “right to rent or lease” apartments. Cooperative apartment corporations are required to comply because they lease apartments to their tenant-shareholders. Condominium Boards are generally not required to comply because they do not rent or lease units, but Unit Owners who lease their units, and the Board if it owns and leases a unit, are required to provide the Disclosure.

The Disclosure must be delivered to all tenants and prospective tenants (a) on or before April 2, 2021, or (b) within 30 days of the beginning of a tenancy. Linked to this advisory is a form Disclosure (to be completed by each individual cooperative apartment corporation) prepared by the NYS Division of Human Rights, which we have slightly modified to address possible differences for landlords and tenants in buildings located within New York City, which are also subject to the New York City Human Rights Law.

The Disclosure includes notifying tenants that if they “have a physical, mental, or medical impairment,” they can ask the landlord “to make the common areas of [the] building accessible, or to change certain policies to meet [the tenant’s] needs.” The form then provides specific examples of reasonable accommodations and provides information to those tenants who want to file a complaint with the Division of Human Rights.

The Disclosure does not change existing obligations of landlords, including cooperative apartment corporations, but merely requires disclosure of a tenant’s rights.

We recommend that cooperatives complete and send the linked Disclosure form to all shareholders as soon as practicable keeping in mind the April 2 date, and also provide the Disclosure at closings for all new purchasers.

As always, if you have any questions, we are here to assist you.

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