Avoiding condo and co-op discrimination claims

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2020 | Real estate litigation |

Co-op boards in New York City must be aware of the Federal, State and City laws about housing discrimination. Knowledge of these regulations can help the board avoid serious problems if a potential buyer files a discrimination claim or if an issue arises with building staff.

These are the antidiscrimination provisions co-op and condo boards (why is this a hyperlink to our page?) should understand.

Disability discrimination

Co-op boards must make sure the building and its amenities are accessible by disabled residents. If a request for a reasonable accommodation is made by a resident for his or her disability, the board must evaluate the request and implement an appropriate accommodation. Examples include raised unit numbers for the vision-impaired, grab bars, wider doorways, entrance ramps, and visible doorbells for the hearing-impaired. There are an increasing number of requests for waiver of a no pet policy so that an individual with a disability can have an emotional support animal.

Other forms of discrimination

State and federal regulations hold co-op and condo boards responsible if a resident or an employee reports a pattern of gender, sex, race or religious discrimination and the board fails to act. This A recent case held a landlord liable where the discrimination in question came from another resident, and the landlord failed to take any action to stop the harassment.

In addition to careful legal compliance, condo and co-op boards can take the following steps to avoid discrimination liability:

  • Making sure purchase applications are carefully prepared so as not to ask for information which is violative of the discrimination laws. New York City has protection against certain forms of discrimination which are not provided by the state or federal law.
  • Developing and enforcing detailed policies preventing harassment against other residents and employees and for how reasonable accommodation requests will be handled from residents and employees
  • Educating all board members management, and employees, as to what residents rights are with regard to what constitutes discriminatory conduct.