Managing one’s property can be challenging. You may have only recently learned that certain behavioral standards must be adhered to in order to accommodate individuals with disabilities. It can be illegal to refuse to make a reasonable accommodation under 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. Making the time to learn about this issue will save you a lot of grief in the future.
What is a Reasonable Request?
Naturally, as a landlord with a rental property, you want to make every effort to accommodate each of your tenants, regardless of their unique circumstances. However, how can you tell if a potential tenant has a disability? It’s like navigating a minefield to manage a situation like this; continue with caution.
You should quickly grant a request if a person’s impairment is obvious and it is pertinent to that condition. 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. A physician, peer support group, non-medical service organization, or other trustworthy third parties can offer this. Requests for medical records shouldn’t be made.
Not all individuals with disabilities will submit a request for a reasonable accommodation. All people with disabilities, however, have 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 be sure to abide by all applicable handicap laws and standards as a property manager. Ask a person with a disability only the information that is necessary to make reasonable accommodations or to ensure the accessibility and safety of the property.
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 ask for emergency contact information in case of an emergency. You may inquire about the breed and training of an assistance animal owned by a person with a disability.
You may even request proof of the person’s disability from a medical expert if—and only if—it is unclear how the request is connected to their condition.
It is crucial to keep in mind to show those with disabilities respect and dignity 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?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that most public, private, and rental establishments in the United States provide accessible features and services to people with disabilities who request them. However, certain properties are exempt from the ADA’s reasonable accommodation requirements.
Owner-occupied single-family dwellings, apartments, and condominiums with no more than four units are typically exempt from the ADA’s reasonable accommodation requirements. Under state and local fair housing regulations, landowners may still be required to provide reasonable accommodations in certain situations.
We’re Here to Help
The competent staff at Real Property Management Seacoast New Hampshire is eager to explain the procedure for handling accommodation requests to you. 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 603-343-2202.
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.