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Perspectives

Landlords, Including Cooperatives, Must Advise Tenants of Their Right to Request a Reasonable Accomo

            A recent amendment to New York State’s anti-discrimination statute, the Human Rights Law, requires that residential landlords must advise tenants of the right to request a reasonable accommodation if they have a disability. This notice must be given to all tenants in writing. For existing tenants, the notice is to be given this month. For new tenants, it must be given within 30 days after the tenancy commences.

The definition of “tenant” for these purposes is broad. In addition to conventional residential tenants and their subtenants, it includes tenant-shareholders in cooperatives and their subtenants. It does not include condominium unit owners, but does include tenants who rent condominium units from their owners.

New York State has provided a sample form of notice for landlords to provide to their tenants. This form of notice can be found online at https://dhr.ny.gov/requirednotice. However, several commentators have noted that this notice form is not completely accurate with respect to tenants located in New York City, because it states that it is the tenant’s responsibility to pay the costs of a reasonable accommodation. Under New York City’s own Human Rights Law, it is often the landlord’s responsibility to pay these costs.

The amendment does not affect the definition of what constitutes a disability under the State and City Human Rights Laws or what types of reasonable accommodations a landlord is required to provide.