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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Lynbrook Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairA property owner may have a lot of questions whenever a disabled tenant wants to rent a single-family home. One vital question to ask yourself is whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability. The key to your success is by possessing the answer to this question and knowing how to handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations.

Single-family rental property owners need to be aware that disabled renters have many legal protections that safeguard them. Regarding the Fair Housing Act, individuals with a disability are protected from discrimination when renting or buying a home, applying for a mortgage, and seeking housing assistance. The Act also requires landlords to allow “reasonable accommodations” so a disabled person can live comfortably and safely in a rental home. As an illustration, a tenant with limited hand use could need special faucets or door handles installed and a tenant in a wheelchair could also want to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp.

With these kinds of accommodations, a significant contrast is raised between letting a tenant modify a rental house at his or her own expense and is required to do it for them. The law clearly states that a property owner should allow reasonable modifications, however, it does not require landlords to pay for them. Under the Act, your tenant should apply for prior approval from you in advance of the start of any work. You can even legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. Also, you can ask your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, make them provide proof that the job will be accomplished well, and instruct them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval whenever required.

Be that as it may, as the property owner, you cannot outright refuse reasonable accommodations or refuse to change policies or practices that would prevent a disabled tenant from using the house. This can be made up of requests for service animals and other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. Furthermore, you absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for customizing the accommodations, too. Any effort to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants is a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

Frequently,  renting out your single-family home to a disabled tenant can be a challenge as you maneuver through the Fair Housing Act. Studying the law and knowing what you legally can and cannot do can aid you quite a bit. In fact, the optimum choice is to have the backing of property management professionals who have practical knowledge when it comes to leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

Real Property Management Innovation is resolute in adhering strictly to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We possess the skill and mastery to aid rental property owners like you follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our Lynbrook property management professionals can help answer any of your questions and keep you out of legal trouble. Call us at 516-570-9275 or contact us online for more information.

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.