Housing Discrimination: What Does the Future Hold and How Can Boards Be Prepared Things Your Building Should Know to Avoid Big and Costly Mistakes


Last in a series on housing discrimination.

In case you missed our previous three articles, The Cooperator touched on several important and current issues in housing discrimination law and how they affect co-op corporations and condo associations in New York City.  Protection against discrimination is provided at three levels: federal, state, and local.  That combination of laws and regulations results in the toughest and most thorough discrimination protection in the country and the Big Apple.

In the first installment of our series, we discussed the rights of the physically disabled.  Co-ops are required to make or permit reasonable accommodations to the corporation’s rules and regulations to make housing accessible.  In fairness to co-ops and condos who often inhabit properties built many decades before the rights of the disabled were considered, they are not required to consent to an unreasonable accommodation, an undue burden, or an accommodation that is structurally unfeasible.

Our second installment examined the exceptions that must be made for people who require service animals, usually dogs, in co-ops and condos that don’t otherwise permit them. Often these situations involve people who have emotional or other psychological conditions that require them to keep a service animal.  As is the case with physical disabilities, the person requiring the service animal must show incontrovertible medical need.  If that need is demonstrated, the co-op or condo must permit the animal.  If that need is not sufficiently proven, the co-op or condo is not compelled to change its policies.

Most recently, we outlined who is protected against discrimination.  Those protected classes include age, race, color, creed or religion, national origin, gender, source of income, occupation, immigration status, presence of children, victims of domestic abuse, gender identity, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation and marital status.  As Deborah Koplovitz, an attorney with the New York-based firm of Anderson Kill, says “that list will continue to grow.”


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