Recent Amendments To The New York State Human Rights Law
Recent amendments to the New York State Human Rights Law (“SHRL”, found at NY Exec. Law §§ 290 – 301) require housing providers and to “disclose to all tenants and prospective tenants  their right to request reasonable modifications and accommodations if they have a disability . . .” (the “HRL Disclosure”, see, NY Exec. Law §§ 296[2-b] and [18-a]). The below summarizes the provisions of the amendments, and your obligations.The requirement to deliver the HRL Disclosure to tenants and prospective tenants is imposed upon every “owner, lessee, sub-lessee, assignee, or managing agent of, or other person having the right of ownership of or possession of or the right to rent or lease housing accommodations” (NY Exec. Law § 296[18-a]), as well as every “owner, lessee, sub-lessee, assignee, or managing agent of publicly-assisted housing accommodations or other person having the right of ownership or possession of or the right to rent or lease such accommodations” (NY Exec. Law § 296[2-b]).
A “Housing Accommodation” for purposes of the SHRL, includes “any building, structure, or portion thereof which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings” (NY Exec. Law § 292-10).
Based on these definitions, functionally, this means that every owner of real property must comply with the new amendments to the law and the HRL Disclosure must be sent to all prospective tenants, effective March 1, 2021. Current tenants must receive the HRL Disclosure within 30 days of the effective date, or by April 1, 2021.
In addition to sending the notice to all tenants, a copy of the notice must be conspicuously posted on all vacant housing accommodations available for rent. The State Division on Human Rights has not prescribed regulations on the form or manner of the posting, but will likely do so in the near future.
The sample notice provided by the State Division of Human Rights is linked here.
Please note that while the foregoing HRL Disclosure is required at the State level, it does not address additional requirements and discrepancies applicable to housing providers under the New York City Human Rights Laws (“NYCHRL”, found at Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York) and the Federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”, 42 USC § 3601).
Rosenberg & Estis, PC is available to prepare these HRL Disclosure forms immediately for prompt distribution prior to April 1, 2021. Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. also offers policy drafting and consulting services to educate housing providers on compliance with the SHRL, the NYCHRL and the FHA, and to avoid potential liability under these regulations. Comparable policy drafting and consulting is likewise available for commercial facilities and public accommodations, governed by the SHRL, the NYCHRL and the American’s with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. ch. 126 § 12101 et seq).
Please contact Cori Rosen at 212-551-8401 or your Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. professional if you would like to discuss any of these issues further.