New NYS Housing Legislation Requires Discover Of Incapacity Lodging Rights, However Pattern Company Kind Raises Considerations For Metropolis Buildings – Actual Property and Development

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NYS’s new Housing Act requires a notice of housing rights for people with disabilities, but agency pattern gives cause for concern for urban buildings

March 29, 2021

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

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Seyfarth Synopsis: New York state co-operatives and residential landlords are required by a new law to notify tenants in writing of their right to request reasonable accommodation or changes due to disabilities by Thursday, April 1, 2021.

What the new law requires

The new law (here) amends the existing provisions of Section 296 of the New York State Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) that prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of disability. Housing providers must inform current and potential tenants in writing of their “right to appropriate changes or adjustments in the event of disabilities”[.]“In addition, the law requires the notice to be displayed conspicuously. On or before April 1, 2021, apartment providers must send or hand over the required written notification to the existing tenants and display it in a clearly visible manner in the building. After that, the new tenant must be given written notice of termination within 30 days of the start of the rental.

The specific form of the announcement as well as the details of the posting obligation are subject to implementing regulations that have not yet been issued by the New York State Division of Human Rights (“Division”). What the department released is a sample notification form (here). In particular, the department’s model form not only includes declarations that tenants with disabilities can apply for accommodation by law, but also examples of such applications, barrier-free design requirements for covered buildings and how to file complaints with an authority against housing providers who do not comply.

Which housing providers are insured?

The new law applies to any housing provider who rents apartments, units or houses, including but not limited to publicly subsidized housing. The residents entitled to notify include, for example, shareholders and sub-tenants of cooperatives, tenants of rental apartments and tenants of single or multi-family houses. It does not appear that condominiums are required to notify homeowners as the law limits the obligation to “tenants” (however, individual homeowners renting or leasing their apartments may be required to do so as landlords).


When it comes to New York City buildings, it is important to note that there are important differences between the NYSHRL and the New York City Human Rights Law (the “City Law”). The city law was designed to provide broader anti-discrimination protection for residents with disabilities than the NYSHRL, including shifting more housing costs to the housing provider. In our opinion, while the department’s website states that the sample form complies with the new law, certain examples may not be consistent with applicable city legal requirements and are likely to be confusing. Distributing a mass mailing of accommodation examples can also affect the number of related inquiries and requests that housing providers receive. Covered housing providers should consult with experienced advisors when deciding how to meet the requirements of the new law.

Originally published by Seyfarth Shaw, March 2021

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject. Expert advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstances.

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