Owning your own property can be challenging to manage. It’s possible that you were only recently made aware of the need to adhere to particular standards of conduct to accommodate persons who have disabilities. The Fair Housing Act may be broken if reasonable accommodations are not made. Even accidentally breaking that rule might lead to years in court and money you’d rather not spend on pricey lawyers. You’ll avoid a lot of grief if you make the effort to educate yourself on the subject.
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. However, how do you ascertain if a potential tenant has a disability? A situation like this requires careful management because it is like going through a minefield.
If a person’s disability is evident and their request is appropriate for their condition, you should immediately grant their request. Only if it is unclear how the request is related to their impairment can you ask for more details. Asking for verification will allow you to confirm that the requested accommodation is connected to the person’s disability if their impairment is NOT immediately apparent. One can get this from several trustworthy sources, including medical professionals, peer support groups, non-medical service agencies, and others. Requesting medical documents is improper, so don’t do it.
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?
Upon receiving a request for a reasonable accommodation or modification, you will likely be inquisitive about the nature of your accommodation. You must make sure that you abide by all applicable disability laws and standards 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.
You may only request information about the individual’s disability-related requirements to provide a reasonable accommodation, such as a wheelchair ramp or an accessible parking spot. You can request emergency contact information in the event of an emergency. If an individual with a disability has a support animal, you may ask about the breed and training of the animal.
If, and only if, it is uncertain how the request relates to the person’s disability, you may request confirmation from a healthcare professional.
It is crucial to keep in mind to show respect and decency to people with disabilities and to refrain from prying or making needless inquiries. All information should also be kept private and only given to those 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 reasonable accommodation requirements of the ADA, however, do not apply to all properties.
Owner-occupied private residences, including single-family homes, apartments, and condominiums, with no more than four units are excluded from the ADA’s reasonable accommodation rules. However, under some state and local fair housing laws, landlords may still be obligated to make reasonable modifications.
We’re Here to Help
The skilled staff at Real Property Management Diversified is eager to explain the procedure for fulfilling accommodation requests to you. To make sure 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 352-854-2221.
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.