REQUIRED DISCLOSURE OF DISABLED TENANTS’ AND SHAREHOLDERS’ RIGHTS TO REASONABLE ACCOMODATIONS AND MODIFICATIONS

On December 2, 2020, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Assembly Bill A8149A/Chapter 311 of the laws of 2020 (the “Bill”). The Bill adds to Section 296 of the Executive Law (known as the “Human Rights Law”) subdivisions 2-b (which applies to publicly assisted housing accommodations) and 18-a (which applies to private housing accommodations) and becomes effective on March 2, 2021, ninety (90) days after its passage (the “Effective Date”).

The new provisions of the Human Rights Law require owners, lessees, sub-lessees, assignees, managing agents and all others who have the right to rent or lease residential housing accommodations, which includes Boards of Directors and their managing agents for cooperatives as well as owners of condominium units who rent such units (“Housing Providers”) to provide a written notice to all tenants and prospective tenants of their right to reasonable modifications and accommodations if they have a disability as defined in the Human Rights Law (the “Notice”). Notably, this law does not apply to condominium Boards of Managers unless the condominium, as the owner or secured party, rents a Unit in the condominium through foreclosure or otherwise. The Bill requires that the Notice be provided in writing as prescribed by the New York Division of Human Rights (“DHR”).

The DHR has promulgated a sample Notice which may be utilized by Housing Providers. The sample Notice can be accessed at: https://dhr.ny.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/postings/Sample-Notice-for-Requesting-Reasonable-Accommodations-in-Housing-Final.pdf

However, all New York City based Housing Providers should be aware that the sample Notice promulgated by the DHR provides that the tenant will be responsible to pay for certain modifications and/or accommodations. Although this is consistent with New York State Law, it is inconsistent with New York City Human Rights Law which often requires that the Housing Provider pay for the reasonable modification and/or accommodations. As such, if using the DHR Notice in New York City, that portion of the Notice related to who bears the cost for the accommodation and/or modification should be edited or removed to ensure that it is accurate.

The Bill further provides that the Notice must be provided by Housing Providers to current or prospective tenants within thirty (30) days of the beginning of their tenancy or thirty (30) days after the Effective Date (or, April 1, 2021) for current tenants. This means that by April 1, 2021, all Housing Providers must send a copy of the Notice to their tenants and subtenants by mail.

The Bill also requires that the Notice be posted conspicuously on every vacant housing accommodation that is available for rent. To ensure future compliance with the Bill, Housing Providers should append the Notice to their leasing applications and have all potential lessees acknowledge its receipt.

For further information or clarification regarding these new requirements, please contact Todd Baltch (tbaltch@tureklaw.com) or otherwise call our office (212/223-3562) and ask to speak with one of our attorneys.