Managing one’s own property can be challenging. You may have only recently realized that certain standards of conduct must be adhered to to accommodate persons with disabilities. Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation may constitute a Fair Housing Act violation. Even if unintentional, committing this type of infraction can cost you years in court and a lot of money on costly attorneys. You’ll save a lot of hassle by making the effort to educate yourself on the issue.
What is a Reasonable Request?
Without question, as a landlord with a rental property, you want to accommodate your tenants in any way attainable, regardless of their specific needs. But how can you discover if a potential renter is disabled? Managing such a scenario is analogous to traversing a minefield; proceed with prudence.
If a person’s impairment is clear and their request relates to that condition, you should grant it immediately. You may only request additional information if it is uncertain how the request relates to the individual’s disability. 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. A physician, peer support group, non-medical service organization, or other trustworthy third parties can offer this. It is not proper to ask for medical records.
Not every disabled person will need to ask for reasonable accommodation. Nevertheless, anyone with a disability has the right to request or receive a reasonable modification or accommodation at any time.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
You’ll probably be interested to learn more about your accommodation after you receive a request for one or receive a request for a reasonable change. You must make sure to abide by all laws and guidelines pertaining to people with disabilities as a property manager. Only request information that is necessary to make a reasonable accommodation or to ensure the accessibility and safety of the property when interviewing a person with a disability.
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 can ask for emergency contact details in case of an emergency. Asking about the breed and training of the animal is acceptable if a person with a disability has one.
You may ask for medical expert confirmation of the person’s condition if, and only if, it is unclear how the request is connected to their handicap.
It is vital to remember to treat individuals who have disabilities with dignity and respect and to avoid requesting unnecessary or intrusive information. Additionally, all data should be kept private and only given to people who truly need to know.
Are Your Properties Exempt?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that the majority of properties in the US, including commercial properties, rental homes, and public facilities, must accommodate reasonable accommodation requests 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. In certain instances, however, state and local fair housing regulations may still require landlords to provide reasonable accommodations.
We’re Here to Help
The experienced staff at Real Property Management Generations is ready to explain to you the procedure for handling accommodation requests. We provide resources, conduct evaluations, and interact with tenants to accommodate renters with disabilities. For more information, contact us or call us directly at 310-907-5646.
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.