Disabled Access Issues Housing Discrimination Law and Your Co-op

Condo associations and co-op corporations must balance the requirements of the law and the reality of what can be done (iStock)

First in a series. To read part two, click here.

The rights of people living with physical disabilities have always been closely entwined with the issue of housing discrimination. In some instances, cases involving discrimination and the disabled have appeared on the news: Four years ago, the Florida attorney general’s office sued an association in East Naples on the behalf of a paralyzed man whose wheelchair accessible truck was parked in the driveway.  Last year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Development accused a co-op in White Plains of discrimination for not allowing an exception in its procedures for a disabled person to purchase a unit.   

New York City has some of the toughest housing discrimination ordinances in the nation, according to Deborah B. Koplovitz, an attorney with Anderson Kill, a Manhattan-based law firm that represents many co-op and condominium buildings. Koplovitz spoke about housing discrimination back in June at an event hosted by her firm, and The Cooperator spoke with her to discuss some of the unique issues facing owners, associations and corporations today.  

The Laws

Koplovitz explains and outlines some fundamental disabled accessibility provisions as follows:  “A board is required to make or permit ‘reasonable accommodations’ to the rules and regulations and to the structure of the building in order to make the housing handicapped accessible," she says. "And a board is also required to refrain from retaliating against a cooperator who has made a request or a complaint about certain treatment.”  

The governing laws are as follows with respects to federal, state and city:

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