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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Union Park Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairA lot of property owners will have a lot of questions should a disabled tenant desire to rent a single-family home. Whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability is an important question to ask yourself. The path to success is through knowing the answer to this question and how to handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations.

Single-family rental property owners need to be aware that disabled renters have many legal protections that safeguard them. Regarding 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. The Act also requires landlords to allow “reasonable accommodations” to be provided for in the rental home so that a disabled person can live comfortably and safely. 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. Although 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 try to obtain prior approval from you ahead of any work beginning, and it is possible to legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. Likewise, you can have your tenant give a detailed description of the proposed changes, demand that they provide proof that the task will be completed satisfactorily, and ask them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval.

Nevertheless, since you are 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 covers requests for service animals and other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. Furthermore, you absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for customizing the accommodations, too. Don’t even attempt to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants because you’ll find yourself 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. Studying the law and knowing what you legally can and cannot do can aid you quite a bit. In fact, the optimum choice is to have the backing of property management professionals who have practical knowledge when it comes to leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

Everyone at Real Property Management Freedom, are wholeheartedly committed to the strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We have the proficiency and ability to assist rental property owners like you follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our team of Union Park 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 813-867-2667 to know how we can help you.

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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