It can be challenging to manage your own property. You might have just known that there are particular codes of conduct you need to follow to accommodate persons with disabilities. Refusing to offer reasonable accommodations can be seen as a Fair Housing Act violation. That type of violation, even accidental, can lead to money spent on expensive attorneys and years spent in court. Taking some time to read up on the matter can help you avoid all that unnecessary trouble.
What is a Reasonable Request?
Of course, as a landlord with a single-family rental residence in Inverness, you want to accommodate all of your tenants, whatever their specific needs, in any way you can. But, how do you identify if your potential tenant really suffers from a disability? Managing a scenario like this can be like going through a minefield; you need to continue with caution.
If the potential tenant does not have a disability that’s easy to notice but is requesting for reasonable accommodations, such as lowering towel bars or having a ramp built onto a porch, or even having the carpet changed due to extreme life-threatening allergies, you can request proof of the disability. Suitable treatment of a person with a disability is a comprehensive topic, and you don’t want to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit, so it is vital to know both your duties and your rights.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
First, realize that you cannot refuse reasonable accommodation requests from a person with disabilities. The gray area develops when the conversation reaches the point where you consider what information you can ask for and what is considered reasonable. For your own safety, it is important to know that you can indeed ask for medical proof that they do have a disability if that disability is not immediately noticeable. A doctor’s note must be given, and in the result of a dispute, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is the only people who can determine whether the proof is sufficient or not. Additionally, you should understand you are not required to give any accommodation to anyone that would set a financial burden on you as a landlord. As you are not a renting out apartments in a complex, you are not expected to make major renovations to your home if they would be damaging to your financial situation.
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
Ultimately, realize that you are not alone. At Real Property Management Diversified, we have highly trained and knowledgeable staff available to aid you in complex situations like these. Although you don’t really require property management for all areas of your rental business, when it comes to the federal government and adhering to regulations that can feel complicated and rigid all at once, you should get assistance. Contact us or call us directly at 352-854-2221 for more information. After all, that is 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.