Tenants Must Now be Notified of their Right to Request a Reasonable Accommodation
Landlords must now give written notice (“Notice”) to tenants and prospective tenants of their right to request a reasonable accommodation or modification to their leased residential premises if they have a disability. This Notice requirement is set forth in NYS Exec. Law §296.2-b and NYS Exec. Law §296.18-a. It was added to the New York State Human Rights Law on December 20, 2020, and became effective on March 2, 2021. This requirement extends not only to traditional landlord-tenant relationships but also includes cooperative lessor-lessee relationships and condominium unit owners who rent out their apartments.
Landlords must provide the Notice to prospective tenants within 30 days of the beginning of their tenancy. The Notice must be provided to existing tenants by April 1, 2021 (30 days from the effective date of the new law).
A sample Notice has been provided by the New York State Division on Human Rights at: https://dhr.ny.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/postings/Sample-Notice-for-Requesting-Reasonable-Accommodations-in-Housing-Final.pdf
However, for buildings within New York City, the Notice should be revised to exclude the language requiring the tenant to pay for modifications within the premises. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, these costs are borne by the landlord if feasible. There is no requirement that the Notice be signed by the landlord.
Landlords are required to make reasonable efforts to accommodate a disabled person’s housing needs. Specifically, Landlords must permit a person with a disability to make reasonable modifications to the occupied premises and to a building’s common areas if the modifications are necessary for such person to have full use and enjoyment of the premises. Reasonable modifications or exceptions must be made in rules, policies, practices, or services when they are necessary to permit such a person to use and enjoy the housing. For example, Landlords often are required to permit a disabled person to have a service or comfort animal to alleviate symptoms or effects of a disability.
As always, we will keep you apprised of developments concerning this new law. If you have any questions please contact Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP.