ADA with respect to co-op owners

I have posted many questions regarding my allergies to roaches. I live in a Brooklyn Co-op. I am looking at the Americans with Disabilities act as it pertains to co-ops. On the web it appears that the ADA only covers employee-employer issues. Yet when I went to an article in Wikipedia it says that the ADA also 'codified' housing under the ADA regulations. Is anybody currently dealing with discrimination in housing (specifically co-op housing) based on their asthma? Or have they done so in the past? If so has the ADA been of any assistance?



Comments 6

  • K8sMom2002

    I'm not sure about specific accommodations for co-op owners. It may be that when you purchase a unit, you agree to waive certain rights, kind of like covenant agreements for purchasing land or homes in certain neighborhoods. 

    In our neighborhood, for instance, we had to get a variance in order to use vinyl siding on our home because the building covenant said you could only use wood or masonry siding. They meant that to prohibit aluminum siding, so it had to be updated to let us use vinyl.

    The Fair Housing Act could cover some of the rights you are talking about:

    The Fair Housing Act, as amended in 1988, prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin. Its coverage includes private housing, housing that receives Federal financial assistance, and State and local government housing. It is unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing or to deny a dwelling to a buyer or renter because of the disability of that individual, an individual associated with the buyer or renter, or an individual who intends to live in the residence. Other covered activities include, for example, financing, zoning practices, new construction design, and advertising.

    The Fair Housing Act requires owners of housing facilities to make reasonable exceptions in their policies and operations to afford people with disabilities equal housing opportunities. For example, a landlord with a "no pets" policy may be required to grant an exception to this rule and allow an individual who is blind to keep a guide dog in the residence. The Fair Housing Act also requires landlords to allow tenants with disabilities to make reasonable access-related modifications to their private living space, as well as to common use spaces. (The landlord is not required to pay for the changes.) The Act further requires that new multifamily housing with four or more units be designed and built to allow access for persons with disabilities. This includes accessible common use areas, doors that are wide enough for wheelchairs, kitchens and bathrooms that allow a person using a wheelchair to maneuver, and other adaptable features within the units.

    Complaints of Fair Housing Act violations may be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For more information or to file a complaint, contact:

    Office of Compliance and Disability Rights DivisionOffice of Fair Housing and Equal OpportunityU.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development451 7th Street, S.W. , Room 5242Washington, D.C. 20410

    (800) 669-9777 (voice)(800) 927-9275 (TTY)

    For questions about the accessibility provisions of the Fair Housing Act, contact Fair Housing FIRST at:

    (888) 341-7781 (voice/TTY)

    For publications, you may call the Housing and Urban Development Customer Service Center at:

    (800) 767-7468 (voice/relay)

    Additionally, the Department of Justice can file cases involving a pattern or practice of discrimination. The Fair Housing Act may also be enforced through private lawsuits.

    I'm not sure if this is what you are after, but you might call the hot lines listed above to ask how your situation might be covered.

  • Paularose

    Thanks. I did see that info on the web. My Co-op prohibits any shareholder from having a dog. But I did come across a new shareholder who has an assistance dog. So it may be that the board is running scared of breaking any laws. Which should work in my favor. I am going to call ADA and HUD on Monday to see if I can get any more info on this. Thanks again for your response!

  • K8sMom2002

    Let us know what they say! And could you review any paperwork you signed when you bought your unit?

  • Megan Roberts

    Best wishes @Paularose on reaching out to them Monday! I'm sure you're not the first person with asthma/allergies to be struggling with this housing challenge nor will you be the last. Let us know how it goes — we are rooting for you.

  • Paularose

    Dear Cynthia and Megan. Thank you for your responses. I actually have a doctor's appointment tomorrow so I will be unable to make all the phone calls to HUD and the ADA that I had planned. But I will be doing that Tuesday. The papers that each shareholder must sign once they get their apartments are quite old and do not address any of these issues.


  • K8sMom2002

    I hope your doctor's appointment went well and you were able to get your phone calls in as well today. 

    Maybe it's a good thing that the shareholders' agreements don't address these things? That may mean you still have those rights.