Managing one’s property can be challenging. You may have only recently learned that certain behavior standards must be adhered to in order to accommodate those with disabilities. The refusal to provide a reasonable accommodation may constitute a violation of 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’ll save a lot of hassle by making the effort to educate yourself on the issue.
What is a Reasonable Request?
No matter what their unique circumstances may be, as a landlord with a rental property, you naturally want to make accommodations for all of your tenants. However, how do you ascertain if a potential tenant has a disability? A situation like this requires careful management because it is like going through a minefield.
You ought to grant someone’s request immediately and quickly if their disability is evident and it pertains to that condition. If it is unclear how the request relates to their impairment, only then should you inquire about further details regarding the request. Asking for verification will allow you to confirm that the requested accommodation is connected to the person’s disability if their impairment is NOT immediately apparent. This can be provided by a physician, a non-medical service agency, a peer support group, or another trustworthy third party. It is not proper to ask for medical records.
Not all individuals with disabilities will submit a request for a reasonable accommodation. Nonetheless, individuals with disabilities have the right to request or receive reasonable modifications or accommodations 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. As a property manager, you must ensure compliance with all disability-related rules and regulations. Only request information that is necessary to make a reasonable accommodation or to ensure the accessibility and safety of the property when interviewing a person with a disability.
You may only inquire about a person’s disability-related needs if you need to provide reasonable accommodations, like a ramp for a wheelchair or an accessible parking space. You can request emergency contact information in the event of an emergency. You may inquire about the breed and training of an assistance animal owned by 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’s important to keep in mind that people with disabilities should always be treated with respect and decency, and questions about their lives should never be intrusive or unwarranted. 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 the majority of properties in the US, including commercial properties, rental homes, and public facilities, must accommodate reasonable accommodation requests from people with disabilities. The reasonable accommodation requirements of the ADA, however, do not apply to all properties.
Owner-occupied single-family dwellings, apartments, and condominiums with no more than four units are typically exempt from the ADA’s reasonable accommodation requirements. In certain instances, however, state and local fair housing regulations may still require landlords to provide reasonable accommodations.
We’re Here to Help
The knowledgeable staff of Real Property Management California Coast is anxious to assist you in comprehending the process of responding to accommodation requests. 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 310-535-2150.
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.