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What are your rights as a disabled tenant?

If you have physical disabilities, finding housing that works for your specific issues and abilities can be complicated. Despite what some New York landlords think, there are certain laws in place that protect the rights and interests of disabled tenants. You may find it necessary to fight for your interests and your right to live in certain properties. 

Regardless of the type of disability you have, there are federal laws that allow you the right to apply for and live in any type of apartment or residential rental property. While there are certain things that a landlord can do to protect his or her interests, he or she cannot discriminate against you because of your disability.

Who does the law protect?

You know there are federal housing and discrimination laws that protect individuals with disabilities from facing discrimination when seeking adequate housing, including the following people: 

  • A person with a record of a disabling condition
  • A person who others may be perceive as having a disability
  • A person with a disability that affects his or her ability to perform life functions

If you have protections provided by the law, you have grounds to fight for your rights in the event that you experienced discrimination while trying to find housing. However, there are certain things a landlord can ask, and while they may be frustrating, they do not count as discriminatory questions. This includes questions related to the following:

  • Tenant's ability to pay rent
  • Whether or not applicant has a drug addiction
  • Qualification for units specifically for disabled individuals

When dealing with housing challenges as a disabled person, you may find it beneficial to seek guidance regarding your rights. If you experienced discrimination, you have the right to file a civil claim to hold the liable party accountable for inappropriate actions. 

Seeking modifications and protecting your rights

In some cases, it may be appropriate to ask your landlord to make reasonable accommodations because of your disability. Whether you need to use a service animal or use other types of access to the building, you have the right to seek this type of support.

You do not have to put up with discrimination or inappropriate treatment because of your disability. You have the right to equal access in housing and freedom from discriminatory treatment. By seeking a complete evaluation of your case, you can better understand your options and pursue a reasonable outcome to your situation.

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