Looking ahead. The June 2022 deadline has passed for co-op and condo boards (and other landlords) to comply with the new state law requiring them to provide written notice to residents of their right to request reasonable accommodations and modifications if they have a disability. But boards that have already done so still need to be aware of other steps they must take in order to fully comply in the future.
“It’s definitely an ongoing obligation,” says Andrew P. Brucker, a partner at the law firm Armstrong Teasdale, adding that the notice must be provided to new residents within 30 days of occupancy. The document, which may be mailed or sent electronically via email, text or fax, must be also posted physically in a common area of the building — and, equally important, on its website.
Following the rules. If your building has a website “make sure that the notice is somewhere on its home page,” Brucker says. Rather than posting the document — a 20-paragraph sample is available from the New York Division of Human Rights (DHR) — “I would set up a link that people can click on, but the law specifies that you have to be able to download and print the document,” he explains. While buildings are free to create their own notice, “it’s safer to use the DHR template,” Brucker adds. “You don’t want to make a misstep and inadvertently violate the law.”
Making exceptions. According to DHR rules, residents can request changes in building rules and policies to accommodate their disability, such as permitting emotional support animals in no-pet buildings, or assigning a parking space to a disabled resident who may not be next on the waiting list. Reasonable modifications are physical changes to the building, such as installing ramps, automatic doors and grab bars.
“One thing boards have to realize is that this notice is, in a way, a roadmap for people with disabilities,” Brucker says. “If they weren’t aware of their rights, they certainly will be now. Going forward, it may turn out that boards are going to get a lot more requests than they have in the past.”