Managing one’s own property can be challenging. 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. It can be illegal to refuse to make a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. Even if it’s inadvertent, committing that sort of infringement can lead to years in court and money you’d rather not spend on costly lawyers. You will avoid a lot of trouble if you make the effort to educate yourself on the issue.
What is a Reasonable Request?
Obviously, as a landlord with a rental property, you want to accommodate your tenants in any way possible, regardless of their circumstances. But how can you tell whether a potential tenant is disabled? Dealing with this situation is like navigating a minefield; use caution.
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. If a person’s impairment is NOT immediately apparent, you can request verification to ensure that the requested accommodation is in fact connected to the person’s disability. This can be given by a medical professional, peer support group, non-medical service organization, or other trustworthy third party. You shouldn’t ask for medical records.
Not all people who have impairments will ask for reasonable accommodation. All people with disabilities, however, have the right to request or receive a reasonable modification or accommodation at any time.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
You might be eager to learn more about your accommodation after you get a request for one or hear of a reasonable change. You have a responsibility as a property manager to obey all laws and guidelines pertaining to people with disabilities. Ask a person with a disability only the information that is necessary to make reasonable accommodations 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 can ask for emergency contact details in case of an emergency. You can enquire about the breed and training of an assistance animal if the owner is a person with a disability.
You may request proof of the person’s condition from a medical practitioner if—and only if—it is unclear how the request is connected to their disability.
It is vital to remember to treat individuals who have disabilities with dignity and respect and to avoid requesting unnecessary or intrusive information. In addition, only those who need to know should be privy to the collected information.
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. 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 exempt from the ADA’s reasonable accommodation standards. Under state and local fair housing regulations, landowners may still be required to provide reasonable accommodations in certain situations.
We’re Here to Help
The competent staff at Real Property Management Raleigh is eager to explain the procedure for handling accommodation requests to you. To guarantee that renters with disabilities are properly accommodated, we offer resources, carry out assessments, and engage with tenants. For more information, contact us or call us directly at 919-481-0008.
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.