It can be difficult to manage your own property. You may have only recently realized that certain standards of conduct must be adhered to to accommodate persons with disabilities. The Fair Housing Act may be violated by refusing to make a reasonable accommodation. 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?
Naturally, as a landlord with a rental property, you want to make every effort to accommodate each of your tenants, regardless of their unique circumstances. But how can you tell whether a potential tenant is disabled? It’s like navigating a minefield to manage a situation like this; continue with caution.
If a person’s disability is evident and their request is appropriate for their condition, you should immediately grant their request. 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. Requests for medical records shouldn’t be made.
Not all people who have impairments will 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?
Upon receiving a request for a reasonable accommodation or modification, you will likely be inquisitive about the nature of your accommodation. You must be sure to abide by all applicable handicap laws and standards as a property manager. 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.
You are limited to asking for information about the individual’s disability-related necessities in order to offer them a reasonable accommodation, such as a wheelchair ramp or an accessible parking location. You also have the option to ask for emergency contact information. If an individual with a disability has a support animal, you may ask about the breed and training of the animal.
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. In addition, all data should be kept private and shared only with those who truly need to know.
Are Your Properties Exempt?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that businesses, landlords, and public accommodations in the United States make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities who stay on their premises. However, the ADA’s requirements for reasonable accommodations do not apply to all buildings.
Owner-occupied private residences, including single-family homes, apartments, and condominiums, with no more than four units are exempt from the ADA’s reasonable accommodation standards. The state and local fair housing laws may, however, nevertheless impose restrictions on landlords, requiring them to make reasonable concessions in some circumstances.
We’re Here to Help
The educated crew at Real Property Management Investment Solutions is glad to assist you in comprehending the procedure for 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 616-419-4578.
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.