Managing your own property can easily become an overwhelming task. There are lots of facets to it that after finishing one task, you find yourself faced with another. Not to mention the many rules you have to abide, some you can’t evade. There are especially certain codes of conduct you must follow to accommodate persons with disabilities. It is frowned upon when you refuse to provide reasonable accommodations, it is already considered as a violation of the Fair Housing Act. That kind of violation, even if it has been done accidentally, can result in years spent in court, and dollars you would rather not part with spent on expensive attorneys. It is advised that landlords take some time and educate themselves with these implementing rules and regulations so as to avoid all that unnecessary hassle.
What is a Reasonable Request?
When you have a single-family residence to rent out in Dover, you would want to accommodate all of your renters and potential renters in every possible way. However, in situations that are sensitive, such as a potential renter with a disability, how do you ask for proof of his or her disability? Managing a situation like this can be like walking through a minefield; you must proceed with caution.
The key is to treat persons with disabilities as properly and as fairly as you can, since the coverage of everything related to them is a wide-ranging topic, and you do not want to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit it is best to understand both your obligations and your rights. If the disability is not obvious but a potential renter is asking for reasonable accommodations, like having a ramp built onto a porch or having towel bars lowered, or even having the carpet replaced due to severe life-threatening allergies, you can always request proof of the disability.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
It is fairly important to note that you cannot refuse to provide these reasonable accommodation requests made by a person with disabilities. The gray area is entered when the conversation opens up to what information you can request and what is considered reasonable.
For your own protection, you must bear in mind that you can indeed request medical proof that a person suffers from a disability especially if the said disability is not immediately obvious. A doctor’s note must be provided, and, in the result of a dispute, only the Department of Housing and Urban Development can determine whether the proof is sufficient or not. Also, you should be aware that you are not responsible for providing any accommodation to anyone that would place a financial burden on you as a landlord. Because you are not a renting out apartments in a complex, you will not be expected to make major changes to your home if those changes would be detrimental to your financial situation.
Are Your Properties Exempt?
Single-family homes rented without the use of a real estate agent or advertising are exempt from the federal Fair Housing Act as long as the private landlord/owner doesn’t own more than three homes at the time. Apartments of four units or less are also exempt if the owner lives in one of the units. However, even if this multi-family exemption applies to you, your rental advertising must still comply with the Act. Other exemptions include the rental of a single room in a home, qualified senior housing, and housing operated by religious or private organizations if certain requirements are met.
We’re Here to Help
In the end, know that you are not alone. At Real Property Management Seacoast New Hampshire, we have highly trained and well-educated staff on hand to work with you on sticky situations like these ones. While you may not necessarily need property management to handle all areas of your rental business when it comes to the federal government and adhering to regulations that can feel complex and rigid at the same time, get help. For more information, contact us or call us directly at 603-343-2202. That is, after all, what we are here for.
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.