Distribute Notice of Disability Accommodation Rights to Tenants by June 17

Last March, Governor Cuomo signed into law a new provision requiring the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) to issue regulations requiring housing providers “to provide notice to all tenants and prospective tenants … of their rights to request reasonable modifications and accommodations” for persons with disabilities. Although this law became effective last year, enforcement of the notice requirement was delayed until DHR promulgated its rules. On May 18, DHR finally adopted the rules.

One level deeper: Owners must give written notice to existing resident by June 17 and within 30 days of occupancy for all future residents. Here are the requirements for the notice:

  • In writing in 12-point font or larger;
  • Include telephone numbers and email of the property manager or other person responsible for accepting reasonable accommodation requests;
  • May be sent by email, text, electric messaging system, fax, or hardcopy. Links are acceptable provided the notice can be downloaded and printed; and
  • Must be posted physically, in a well-lit area in the building where the individual seeking the accommodation would easily be able to see it.

The notice may also be included with other written communications such as a lease or the written materials provided to tenants. And if your building has a website, you must post the notice or display a link to the notice on the homepage.

What you need to know: It’s important to note that there are important distinctions between the NYS Human Rights Law and the NYC Human Rights Law. The city’s law provides more expansive anti-discrimination protections for residents with disabilities than the state’s law.

For example, NYC Human Rights Law requires the housing provider to pay for the reasonable modification unless doing so would cause an undue hardship or is architecturally infeasible. In contrast, a private housing provider under NYS law is required to pay for reasonable modifications made in common areas. But for changes to the interior of the unit under state law, the tenant is required to pay for these modifications and the owner may require that the tenant restore the unit to its original condition upon vacancy.

The sample notice provided by NYS states that the tenant is required to pay for modifications. For the model notice linked below, we’ve removed this language so the notice will also comply with the NYC Human Rights Law. The notice provides not only statements that tenants with disabilities can request accommodations by law, but also examples of such requests, accessible design requirements for covered buildings, and how to file agency complaints against housing providers that fail to comply.

You can click here for the model notice.