Understanding the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act in Relation to Housing Accommodations


Baltazar v. Goldfarb Props., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30238 (SDNY 2023) is a recent case that sheds light on how the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) relate to housing accommodations for individuals with disabilities. The pro se plaintiff in this case alleged that his landlord refused to make reasonable accommodations in allowing him to move to a different location to address his issues of isolation.

Under the FHA, disability discrimination includes a "refusal to make 'reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.'" To state a claim under the FHA for failure to accommodate a disability, a plaintiff must allege facts showing that the defendant knew or reasonably should have been expected to know of the disability, that the accommodation was likely necessary to afford the disabled person an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling, that the requested accommodation was reasonable, and that the defendant refused to make the requested accommodation.

The ADA generally requires that a defendant not discriminate against individuals with disabilities in public services and make reasonable accommodations to enable them to take part in those services. To succeed on an ADA claim, a plaintiff must show that they were denied the opportunity to participate in or benefit from a public service or activity, or were otherwise discriminated against, due to their disability.

In this case, the plaintiff's FHA claim failed because he did not plead sufficient facts to show that the defendants intentionally discriminated against him because of his disability or failed to provide reasonable accommodations. Similarly, his ADA claim failed because he did not allege any facts showing that he was denied the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the defendants' services, programs, or activities, or was otherwise discriminated against by reason of his disability.

Conclusion: It's important to understand the requirements under the FHA and ADA to ensure individuals with disabilities are afforded equal opportunity to use and enjoy housing accommodations. Requested accommodations are reasonable where the cost is modest and they do not pose an undue hardship or a substantial burden on the housing provider. If you or someone you know has faced discrimination or a lack of reasonable accommodations in housing, seek legal advice to ensure your rights are protected.

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