Our board president informed us that the cost to facilitate one building would be approximately $80,000, and that to facilitate all three would cost $200,000. With 200 units, the average cost per shareholder would be $1,000—and I don’t know if the woman who formed the complaint would be required to pay.
Are there any laws or exceptions with this case, concerning a private and already constructed co-op in New York?
“The co-op is required to make ‘reasonable accommodations’ to enable the tenant to access the building, most likely at the co-op's expense. From the letter, it is not clear if the existing ramp is sufficient to satisfy the ‘reasonable accommodation’ standard. To require the tenant to use a different and less convenient entrance than other residents without having explored ways in which to afford the tenant access through the front door would not satisfy the co-op's obligations under the law.
“Determining what is reasonable in any given situation requires a careful analysis of the particular facts involved. For example, it was deemed an economic burden and thus unreasonable to require a co-op to expend more than $25,000 to install an entrance ramp where the co-op was already operating at a deficit and other means of access to the building existed. In other instances, however, as simple ramp has been found to be a reasonable accommodation. In another example, a co-op was required to provide an indoor parking spot to a disabled tenant, although the co-op maintained that this was a ‘special privilege’ and not a ‘reasonable accommodation’ to her since other residents were ahead of her on the waiting list.
“It is clear that this tenant has a right to expect that a reasonable accommodation be made to afford her access to the building through its front door. If she raised the issue with the co-op (or its managing agent) prior to bringing her lawsuit and such a reasonable accommodation was not made, the tenant has a right to assert her claim in court. The court will then weigh the relief requested against any economic burden or hardship to the co-op to make its determination as to whether a ramp, lift or other measure would be a reasonable accommodation to the disabled tenant under the circumstances.”