Being your own manager when it comes to your properties can be a challenging task. There are many things to consider. You may have only just realized that there are certain codes of conduct you must follow to accommodate persons with disabilities and refusing to provide reasonable accommodations can be viewed as a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Making the mistake of violating such laws can result in years spent in court, and dollars you would rather not part with spent on expensive attorneys. Taking some time to educate yourself on the matter can help you avoid all that unnecessary hassle.
What is a Reasonable Request?
Without a doubt, you, as a landlord in Kalamazoo, would want to accommodate all of your renters regardless of their specific needs, but there are situations where you need to be able to tread carefully and that is when you have someone who has a disability. There is no greater price to pay than that of being on the wrong end of a lawsuit so it is best to be equipped with the right knowledge and understand both your obligations and rights as well.
If the potential renter does not have an obvious disability but is making a request for reasonable accommodations, how do you accommodate? What if that person requests something like having a ramp built onto a porch or having towel bars lowered, or even having the carpet replaced due to severe life-threatening allergies? What do you ask? If this is the case, you can request proof of the disability.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
First, realize that you cannot refuse to grant reasonable accommodation requests made by a person with disabilities. But if there are requests that cannot be met, then the HUD guidelines encourage the provider and tenant to engage in an “interactive process” to discuss alternative accommodations that can satisfy the tenant’s needs without imposing an undue burden or fundamentally be altering the provider’s program. The gray area happens usually when it comes to the type of information you as a landlord asks.
It is important to know for your own protection that you can indeed request medical proof that a person suffers from a disability if the said disability is not immediately obvious. A doctor’s note must be provided, and, in the result of a dispute, only the Department of Housing and Urban Development can determine whether the proof is sufficient or not.
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
We want to make sure that you and your property will be well looked after. At Real Property Management Investment Solutions, we have highly trained and well-educated staff on hand to work with you on sticky situations like these ones. While you may not necessarily need property management to handle all areas of your rental business when it comes to the federal government and adhering to regulations that can feel complex and rigid at the same time, get help. For more information, contact us or call us directly at 616-419-8880. That is, after all, what we are here for.
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.