Spreading the word. Under a new amendment to the New York Human Rights Law, co-op and condo boards are now required to send a notice to all residents disclosing their right to request reasonable modifications and accommodations if they have a disability. The written notice must be sent to all new residents within 30 days of the beginning of their tenancy, and one should have been sent to all current residents by April 1.
Added costs. “It places an affirmative obligation on boards,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, a partner at the law firm Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas. It also places a burden on shareholders and unit-owners since they’re required to send notices to sublessees and could end up paying for accommodations inside their apartments, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom.
Taking precautions. Though not mandated by law, it’s a smart move for boards and managing agents to include a requirement in purchase or sublet application packages that prospective buyers or sublessees must sign a confirmation that they have received the disclosure.
The fallout. Will the new mandate lead to a flood of accommodation requests? “It’s hard to believe there are a lot of disabled people in New York who don’t know they have a right to an accommodation or modification, so probably not,” says Carl Finger, a principal at the law firm Finger & Finger. “That doesn’t mean we’re not going to have more requests. I’m just not sure it’s going to be a deluge.”