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Landlords must make reasonable accommodations for tenants

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prevents any landlord from discriminating against potential tenants. That may sound simple and straightforward. However, there are many more aspects of this act that New York landlords must understand, so they can avoid accusations of discrimination.

For example, landlords cannot deny potential tenants housing based on their physical or mental disability. They might also have to provide reasonable accommodations for that tenant.

What are some reasonable accommodations landlords might have to make?

Under the Fair Housing Act, most landlords must make reasonable accommodations for any tenants with disabilities. There are a few exceptions, but they are rare. Modifications under this act might include things such as:

  • Building ramps or elevators for easy accessibility
  • Installing Braille print on signs and plaques
  • Adding rails in the tenant's room and bathroom

Landlords must pay for these modifications. However, these modifications should not cost landlords excessively. They might even be able to obtain insurance or federal grants to cover these costs.

Accommodations are not just physical

Most landlords might think that providing accommodations only requires them to make physical modifications to their property. However, it can also include making reasonable exceptions to the rental property's policies. 

For example, most rental properties in New York have a strict “no pets” policy. If a tenant with a disability has a service animal, then landlords might have to adjust that tenant’s rental agreement to permit the service animal on the property.

Why is it essential to provide these accommodations?

Denying an individual reasonable accommodations to meet their needs could lead some landlords to face complaints or even lawsuits claiming discrimination.

Handling lawsuits like this can be incredibly complex, and cost landlords much more than making these adjustments could. If landlords have any questions about the Fair Housing Act or modifications, they should consult an experienced attorney to determine how they should move forward and protect their rights.

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