It is critical that landlords understand the rights that tenants have in New York. Understanding these rights is the first step to mitigating potential disputes and risks long before they occur. It also helps landlords to better understand the expectations they must meet under the law.
For example, one critical right that landlords must be aware of and address is the accessibility of their properties.
What laws should landlords review regarding accessibility?
Several federal and state laws protect tenants with disabilities, including:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Fair Housing Act (FHA)
- The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHR)
It is against all of these laws to discriminate against tenants with any type of disability, including:
- Hearing impairments
- Mobility impairments
- Visual impairments
- Mental illnesses
Landlords know that it is illegal to discriminate against potential tenants based on their ability. However, these laws also establish additional rules for landlords.
Landlords must provide reasonable accommodations
The FHA also requires landlords to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate tenants with disabilities. This ensures tenants have equal access to not only rent a property but access it as well.
These accommodations often involve:
- Adjusting pet policies to allow certified service animals;
- Adding access ramps and entryways around the property; and
- Allowing tenants to modify their property to make it accessible.
While landlords are responsible for financing these accommodations, they are often covered by insurance.
Landlords must comply with these laws. Therefore, they must ensure they are informed. It might be beneficial to consult an experienced real estate attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding accessibility.