Yes, it may be discriminatory for your New York landlord to refuse to allow you to move into a larger apartment to accommodate your disability.
In a recent case, a disabled tenant made several requests to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) over a four-year period to be transferred to a four-bedroom unit that was closer to her family who could assist in caring for her and her son. She provided doctor’s letters indicating that the requested transfer would ameliorate the disabilities of her and her son.
Her son’s doctor recommended a larger unit so that the tenant’s son, who is susceptible to viral infections due to asthma, would not have to share a bedroom with his siblings. Additionally, the tenant raised concerns about mold and pests and the lack of air and heat controls in the two-bedroom unit.
HABC failed to grant her requests until several months after she filed a complaint with HUD. The U.S. Fair Housing Act requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices or services when needed to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling.
Additionally, Section 504 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 makes it unlawful for any federally funded housing program to deny program benefits to an individual based on a disability. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, HABC will pay the mother $150,000 and her attorneys $10,000. To ensure that future reasonable accommodation requests are properly addressed, HABC must post signage that details its reasonable accommodation policy and procedures, train staff and property managers on how to comply with reasonable accommodation requests, and submit regular reports to HUD on its efforts to promptly respond to such requests.
If you are a landlord or tenant with questions about discrimination and your legal rights and obligations regarding fair housing, or any other rental issues that may arise, call the New York Landlord & Tenant Attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC at 716-542-5444. Our attorneys will be happy to help you with your legal issues.