Assemblymember Hunter’s Legislation Helping Individuals with Disabilities Obtain Suitable Housing Signed into Law

Assemblymember Pamela J. Hunter (D-Syracuse) announced that her legislation to allow people with disabilities to terminate a lease without penalty in order to move into more suitable housing has been signed into law (Ch. 320 of 2019).

“In the same way that our state supports the elderly and survivors of domestic violence in finding appropriate housing, people with disabilities need some flexibility,” Hunter said. “Unfortunately, accidents can happen and circumstances change, meaning an individual could suddenly find themselves unable to step into their bathtub, reach high cupboards or live on their own. This law recognizes that disabilities aren’t bound by lease terms and no one should have to endure unfit housing.”

Hunter’s legislation allows people with disabilities to break their lease to more easily move into housing that better suits their needs. The new law not only assists those who suddenly become disabled, but also individuals whose disability status changes, rendering their current housing unsuitable, or if assisted living or subsidized housing becomes available. Hunter crafted the law following a meeting with Central New York residents. After several years of advocating for its passage, the measure was approved by both the Assembly and Senate earlier this year and signed into law by the governor today.

Throughout her time in the Assembly, Hunter has fiercely advocated for tenants’ rights. She helped pass the historic Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act earlier this year to better protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords and safeguard affordable housing statewide (Ch. 36 of 2019). She also sponsored bills to ensure rental units are safe and habitable and allow tenants to deduct water and other utility payments from their rent if their landlord is responsible for making the payment and is delinquent (A.1646, A.3190-A). To help survivors of domestic violence, Hunter also co-sponsored a bill that would streamline the procedure for early lease termination by survivors when necessary to ensure their immediate physical safety and long-term financial security (A.4267-A).