Managing your own property can be hard. You may have only recently realized that certain standards of conduct must be adhered to to accommodate persons with disabilities. The refusal to provide a reasonable accommodation may constitute a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Even unintentionally committing that kind of offense can lead to years in court and money you’d prefer not to spend on pricey attorneys. You will avoid a lot of trouble if you make the effort to educate yourself on the issue.
What is a Reasonable Request?
Obviously, as a landlord with a rental property, you want to accommodate your tenants in any way possible, regardless of their circumstances. But how can you discover if a potential renter is disabled? It’s like navigating a minefield to manage a situation like this and thus requires caution to proceed.
If a person’s impairment is clear and their request relates to that condition, you should grant it immediately. If it isn’t clear how the request relates to their handicap, only then can you ask for further details about it. If a person’s impairment is NOT apparent, you may request verification to affirm that the requested accommodation is related to the person’s disability. The provision of this can be made by a physician, peer support group, non-medical service organization, or other trustworthy third party. It is not proper to ask for medical records.
Not all people who have impairments will ask for reasonable accommodation. The right to request or receive a reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification is, however, a fundamental human right that all people with disabilities have access to at all times.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
You might be eager to learn more about your accommodation after you get a request for one or hear of a reasonable change. You have a responsibility as a property manager to obey all laws and guidelines pertaining to people with disabilities. Ask a person with a disability only the information that is necessary to provide a reasonable accommodation or to ensure the accessibility and safety of the property.
To set up an appropriate modification, such as a wheelchair ramp or an accessible parking space, you may just ask for information about the person’s disability-related needs. You may request emergency contact information in the event of an emergency. You can find out the breed and training of an assistance animal if a person with a disability has one.
You may also request confirmation of the person’s disability from a healthcare professional if, and only if, it is unclear how the request relates to their disability.
It is essential to remember to treat people with disabilities with dignity and respect and to avoid requesting superfluous or intrusive information. Additionally, all data should be kept private and only given to people who truly need to know.
Are Your Properties Exempt?
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the majority of properties in the United States, including commercial properties, rental properties, and public accommodations, are required to accede to requests for reasonable accommodations from people with disabilities. The ADA’s standards for reasonable accommodations, however, do not apply to all buildings.
The ADA’s requirements for reasonable accommodations are typically waived for privately owned homes that have no more than four units, including single-family homes, apartments, and condominiums. However, under certain circumstances, state and local fair housing laws may still oblige landlords to make reasonable modifications.
We’re Here to Help
The knowledgeable staff of Real Property Management Fairmate is anxious to assist you in comprehending the process of responding to accommodation requests. To ensure that renters with disabilities are properly accommodated, we offer tools, carry out assessments, and engage with tenants. For more information, contact us 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.