Legal Hotline SpotlightQ: I served a notice of nonrenewal on a tenant within the required time period. The tenant has since come to me and explained she has a disability and, due to the unit’s proximity to certain health services she utilizes, she would like to remain in the unit. Will I run afoul of Fair Housing law if I proceed with the nonrenewal? 

A: No, proceeding with a nonrenewal of the lease in this situation would not constitute a violation of Fair Housing law. Fair Housing law prohibits landlords from discriminating or taking retaliatory action against the tenant because she has a disability. Here, the nonrenewal was not related to the tenant’s disability so it is not retaliatory. Fair Housing law also requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. A request by a tenant to continue living in the unit in perpetuity beyond the original term of the lease would not qualify as a reasonable accommodation. The fact that a tenant may have a disability does not prevent a landlord from proceeding with a nonrenewal of the lease. 

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