New NYS Housing Regulation Requires Discover of Incapacity Lodging Rights, However Pattern Company Type Raises Considerations for Metropolis Buildings
Seyfarth Synopsis: New York state co-operatives and landlords are required by a new law to notify tenants in writing of their right to request reasonable accommodation or changes due to a disability by Thursday, April 1, 2021.
What the new law requires
The new law (here) amends the existing provisions of Section 296 of New York State Human Rights Act (“NYSHRL”), which prohibits discrimination in homes on the basis of disability. Housing providers must write to current and prospective tenants that they “have the right to request reasonable changes or accommodation if they have a disability[.]In addition, the law stipulates that the notice should be published conspicuously. On or before April 1, 2021Housing providers must send or transmit the required written notice to existing tenants and prominently publish this notice in the building. Thereafter, new tenants must be notified in writing within 30 days of the start of the rental period.
The specific form of the announcement as well as the details of the posting obligations are subject to the as yet pending implementing regulations of the Department of Human Rights of the State of New York (“Department”). What the department has released is a sample notification form (here). In particular, the department’s sample form includes not only statements that allow tenants with disabilities to legally apply for accommodation, but also examples of such requests, accessible design requirements for covered buildings, and information on how agencies can submit complaints against providers of housing who do not comply.
Which housing providers are insured?
The new law applies to all housing providers who rent apartments, units or apartments, including but not limited to publicly supported housing. Residents entitled to terminate include, for example, shareholders and sub-tenants of cooperatives, tenants of rental apartment buildings and tenants of single or multi-family houses. Condominiums do not appear to be required to notify shareholders as the law restricts obligations to “tenants” (however, individual condominium owners who rent or lease their units may be required to act as landlords) .
For buildings in New York City, note that there are important differences between the NYSHRL and the New York Human Rights Act (the “City Act”). The city law was interpreted to offer people with disabilities more anti-discrimination protection than the NYSHRL, including by shifting more housing costs to the housing provider. Although the department’s website states that the sample form complies with the new law, we believe that certain examples do not necessarily comply with the existing requirements of city law and may cause confusion in this regard. Distributing a bulk mailing of accommodation examples can also affect the number of related inquiries and inquiries that housing providers receive. Insured housing providers should consult an experienced lawyer to determine how to meet the requirements of the new law.