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How should landlords deal with disabled tenants and applicants?

How should landlords deal with disabled tenants and applicants?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2023 | landlord-tenant disputes |

As a landlord, the term disabled tenant may automatically cause you to worry about the safety of tenants with disabilities. What if they fall while residing on your property? What if they try to sue you for the accident?

Disabled individuals have the right to fair housing and non-discrimination—a principle you likely support. A little information about New York housing laws and the rights of disabled tenants (and applicants) can help you feel more at ease about renting to these unique individuals:

You cannot refuse housing

So long as the disabled tenant can meet the terms of your rental agreement, you may not refuse them housing or kick them out of the home. Doing so would be in violation of federal and New York fair housing laws.

You may need to allow accommodations

Some of those experiencing a disability need special accommodations in their rental homes. Examples include:

  • Allowing a service animal, even with a no-pet policy
  • Installing or allowing the installation of grab bars
  • Moving the disabled tenant to a ground-floor unit
  • Providing a wheelchair-accessible parking space

You may not refuse to allow reasonable accommodations unless it would cause significant financial hardships or harm the rights of other tenants.

Who pays for reasonable accommodations?

It depends on the circumstances. Often, the tenant can and will pay for reasonable accommodations. Other times, you may need to foot the bill for physical accommodations like grab bar installation.

If you’re worried about injury liability when renting to a disabled tenant, it may be worth your while to understand your legal options. They can ease your mind about liability concerns and guide you in abiding by New York housing laws.