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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Towson Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairA property owner may have a lot of questions whenever a disabled tenant wants to rent a single-family home. Possibly the most crucial question of all is whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability. Once you have the solution to this question and can handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations, you’ll find that you’re on the path to success.

Disabled renters have many legal protections that afford them protection and single-family rental property owners should educate themselves on this topic. Pertaining to the Fair Housing Act, individuals with a disability are protected from discrimination when renting or buying a home, applying for a mortgage, and seeking housing assistance. For a disabled person to live comfortably and safely, the Act also requires landlords to allow for “reasonable accommodations” in a rental home. Some examples could be that someone with limited hand use may want to install special faucets or door handles meanwhile a tenant in a wheelchair may want to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp.

With these kinds of accommodations, a significant contrast is raised between letting a tenant modify a rental house at his or her own expense and is required to do it for them. Even though the law clearly states that a property owner should allow reasonable modifications, it does not require landlords to pay for them. Under the Act, your tenant should apply for prior approval from you in advance of the start of any work. You can even legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. In addition, you can ask your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, as well as have them provide proof that the work will be performed in a satisfactory way, and make them obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval if it is needed.

Be that as it may, as the property owner, you cannot outright refuse reasonable accommodations or refuse to change policies or practices that would prevent a disabled tenant from using the house. This consists of requests for service animals and other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. What’s more, you absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for making such accommodations, either. Any endeavors to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants is a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

In many cases, the challenge is figuring out how to navigate through the Fair Housing Act while renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant. By learning as much as possible about the law and what you legally can and cannot do can help a lot. However, the better option is to have support from property management professionals that possess the valuable experience of renting single-family houses to tenants with disabilities.

At Real Property Management Essentials, we diligently work towards the strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We possess the skill and mastery to aid rental property owners like you follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our Towson property management professionals can help answer any of your questions and keep you out of legal trouble. For more information, contact us online or call us at 410-832-3138.

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.