It can be hard to manage your own property. There are tons of codes of conduct you must follow to accommodate persons with disabilities. Rejecting such requests to provide reasonable accommodations can be viewed as a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Making that type of violation, even inadvertently, can lead to years spent in court and money spent on costly attorneys. Better get up to speed on the basics of such laws and educate yourself. This way you can avoid the unneeded stress and hassle.
What is a Reasonable Request?
As much as possible, you as a landlord with a single-family residence to rent out in Rolesville will want to accommodate all of your renters, regardless of their individual needs any way that you can. But how do you identify which of your potential renters actually has a disability? Managing this kind of situation can be like going through a minefield; you need to proceed with caution.
How then do you approach renters who do not have an obvious disability but are making requests for reasonable accommodations, 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? If that’s the case, you can request proof of the disability. Appropriate treatment of a person with a disability is an extensive topic, and you don’t want to end up on the bad end of a lawsuit, so understanding both your obligations and your rights is crucial.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
First, realize that you cannot deny reasonable accommodation requests from people with disabilities. The gray area comes when the conversation opens up to what information you can request and what is regarded as reasonable. So, back to the situation above where a potential renter does not have an obvious disability. For situations like these, you can always request medical proof of the disability. 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. Moreover, you should be mindful that you are not responsible for setting up any accommodation that, as a landlord, would put a financial burden on you. Since you are not renting out apartments in a complex, making major renovations that would be detrimental to your financial situation is not required.
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
In the end, realize that you are not alone. At Real Property Management Raleigh, we have highly trained and knowledgeable staff available to work with you on complicated situations like these. 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, it is best to get some help. For more information, contact us or call us directly at 919-481-0008. 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.