How Can Condo Associations Prevent Violating Reasonable Accommodation Laws?

Fair housing laws at both the federal and state level have existed for decades to protect disabled tenants from discrimination and harassment. For instance, the law provides safeguards, such as the right to have emotional support animals, even for buildings that have a no-pet or no-animal policy. Additionally, besides providing things like support animals in private housing, these state and federal laws apply in the condominium context and oblige condo associations to make reasonable accommodations and/or modifications for persons with disabilities. These requirements serve to allow everyone the opportunity to use and enjoy their property.

Conscientious condominium boards do their best to navigate this complex area of law, but it can be difficult to follow. You want to keep track of what the law requires, who is responsible for the accommodation and modification costs, and how to stay in compliance with the law. Read on to learn how to avoid violating the reasonable accommodations laws.   

Notice Requirements

Under New York law, cooperatives and landlords of residential building are required to provide written notice to tenants of their right to request reasonable accommodations or modifications if they have a disability. The law also requires “conspicuous posting of the notice.” For any new tenant, they must be provided with the written notice within 30 days from the beginning of their tenancy.

Reasonable Accommodations

Everyone must have an equal opportunity to enjoy and use their property, regardless of disability status.  If a condominium association refuses to make reasonable accommodations or modifications, then it’s considered discrimination; this includes both private units and public and common use areas. This means that they must make changes to policies and buildings if a disabled tenant makes a request. 

To determine whether an accommodation is actually reasonable involves a close analysis of the specifics of the case. Generally, the tenant or unit owner is not responsible for the cost of making the accommodation or modification. And it will be something that you have to take in consideration. 

Although the cost of an accommodation is one of the factors, it alone is not enough to make an accommodation unreasonable. There has to be a discernable connection between the request and the individual’s disability.   

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations/Modifications in New York

Examples of reasonable accommodations or modification can include the following:

  • Requests for emotional support animals
  • Requests for more disabled parking places
  • Requests for wheelchair ramps
  • Requests for automatic doors

Discuss How to Comply with Reasonable Accommodations Law with an Attorney

Now that you know what the laws are, you might think that you’re completely in compliance with them. However, there may be a lot of errors on your part. Don’t take this for granted. Get the insight from an experienced attorney on your side, so that you know what to do. Contact one of our MOWK Law attorneys today.