Handling your own property can be a challenge. You may have only just known that there are certain codes of conduct you have to observe to accommodate persons with disabilities. Refusing to give reasonable accommodations can be viewed as a Fair Housing Act violation. Making that type of violation, even unintentionally, can result in years spent in court and money you would rather not part with spent on costly lawyers. Taking some time to read up on the matter could help you avoid all that needless hassle.
What is a Reasonable Request?
Naturally, as a landlord with a single-family rental residence in Pasadena, you want to accommodate all of your renters, whatever their specific needs, in any manner you can. But, how do you know if your possible renter actually has a disability? Managing this kind of situation can be like going through a minefield; you need to proceed with caution.
If the potential renter does not have a clearly visible disability but is making a request for reasonable accommodations, like getting a ramp built onto a porch or lowering towel rods, or even having the carpet changed because of severe life-threatening allergies, you can request proof of the disability. Suitable treatment of a person with a disability is an extensive topic, and you don’t want to end up on the bad end of a lawsuit, so it is essential that you understand both your duties and your rights.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
First, realize that you cannot deny reasonable accommodation requests made by a person with disabilities. The gray area comes when the conversation opens up to what information you can ask for and what is deemed reasonable. For your own protection, it is crucial to know that you can really request medical proof that a person has a disability if the said disability is not immediately apparent. A doctor’s note must be given, and in the result of a dispute, only the Department of Housing and Urban Development can decide whether the proof is sufficient or not. Furthermore, you have to be aware that you are not responsible for setting up any accommodation that would put a financial burden on you as a landlord. Because you are not a renting out apartments in a complex, you are not expected to make extreme changes to your home if those changes would be damaging to your financial situation.
Are Your Properties Exempt?
Single-family homes rented without the use of a real estate agent or advertising are exempt from the federal Fair Housing Act as long as the private landlord/owner doesn’t own more than three homes at the time. Apartments of four units or less are also exempt if the owner lives in one of the units. However, even if this multi-family exemption applies to you, your rental advertising must still comply with the Act. Other exemptions include the rental of a single room in a home, qualified senior housing, and housing operated by religious or private organizations if certain requirements are met.
We’re Here to Help
In the end, realize that you are not alone. At Real Property Management Fairmate, we have highly trained and knowledgeable staff available to work with you on complicated situations like these ones. Though you might not necessarily need property management for all areas of your rental business, when it comes to the federal government and observing regulations that can seem complex and rigid all at once, you should get help. For additional information, contact us online or call us directly at 626-691-9749.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.