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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Raleigh Court Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairWhenever a disabled tenant is renting a single-family home, a property owner may have quite a number of questions that need answering. 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. The key to your success is by possessing the answer to this question and knowing how to handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations.

Many single-family rental property owners may not know that disabled renters have many legal protections that keep them safe. Based on 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. In order for a disabled person to live comfortably and safely, the Act also requires landlords to allow “reasonable accommodations” to be made to the rental house. To give an example, a tenant in a wheelchair would need to have grab bars in the shower or tub installed for easier access or install a ramp and a tenant with limited hand use might want to install special faucets or door handles.

These accommodations detail the difference between authorizing a tenant to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and is required to do it for them. While the law clearly states that a property owner should allow reasonable modifications, even so, it does not require landlords to pay for them. Under the Act and ahead of any work beginning, your tenant ought to request prior approval from you and you can even legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. You can even request that your tenant provide a detailed description of the proposed changes, require that they provide proof that the undertaking will be fulfilled according to your standards, and compel them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval should it be necessary.

Meanwhile, 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 can be made up of requests for service animals and other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. You absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for customized accommodations, as well. If you try to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants, you will be in clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

Frequently,  renting out your single-family home to a disabled tenant can be a challenge as you maneuver through the Fair Housing Act. Researching as much as you can about the law and what you legally can and cannot do can only do so much. The appropriate option to select is to secure aid from property management professionals that understand how to lease single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

Real Property Management Colonial is resolute in adhering strictly 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 team of Raleigh Court property management professionals can give you assistance by keeping you out of legal trouble and provide solutions to any questions or problems you may have. Contact us online or call us at 540-595-7411 to learn more.

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.

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