Owning your own property can be challenging to manage. 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. Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation may constitute a Fair Housing Act violation. Even if unintentional, committing this type of infraction can cost you years in court and a lot of money on costly attorneys. You’ll avoid a lot of grief if you make the effort to educate yourself on the subject.
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. How do you find out if your potential tenant has a disability, though? Managing such a scenario is analogous to traversing a minefield; proceed with prudence.
If a person’s impairment is clear and their request relates to that condition, you should grant it immediately. You may only request additional information if it is uncertain how the request relates to the individual’s disability. You can request verification to ensure the requested accommodation is connected to the person’s impairment if their disability is NOT immediately apparent. This can be given by a medical professional, peer support group, non-medical service organization, or other trustworthy third party. Requesting medical records is inappropriate.
Not every person with a disability will need to ask for reasonable accommodation. However, anyone with a disability has the right to request or receive a reasonable modification or accommodation at any time.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
You’ll probably be interested to learn more about your accommodation after you receive a request for one or receive a request for a reasonable change. You must make sure that you abide by all applicable disability laws and standards as a property manager. When collecting information from a person with a disability, only request the information necessary to provide a suitable modification or to ensure the safety and accessibility of the property.
To set up an appropriate modification, such as a wheelchair ramp or an accessible parking space, you may just ask for information about the person’s disability-related needs. You can ask for emergency contact details in case of an emergency. You can find out the breed and training of an assistance animal if a person with a disability has one.
You may ask for medical expert confirmation of the person’s condition if, and only if, it is unclear how the request is connected to their handicap.
It is crucial to keep in mind to show respect and decency to people with disabilities and to refrain from prying or making needless inquiries. Furthermore, all data you gather should be kept confidential and only shared with those who have a particular need to know.
Are Your Properties Exempt?
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the majority of properties in the United States, including commercial properties, rental properties, and public accommodations, are required to accede to requests for reasonable accommodations from people with disabilities. However, certain properties are exempt from the ADA’s reasonable accommodation requirements.
The ADA’s requirements for reasonable accommodations are typically waived for privately owned homes that have no more than four units, including single-family homes, apartments, and condominiums. However, under some state and local fair housing laws, landlords may still be obligated to make reasonable modifications.
We’re Here to Help
The experienced staff at Real Property Management Executives Greater Atlanta is ready to explain to you the procedure for handling accommodation requests. We provide resources, conduct evaluations, and interact with tenants to accommodate renters with disabilities. For more information, contact us or call us directly at 678-504-8580.
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.