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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Mystic Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairShould a disabled tenant desire to rent a single-family home, property owners will have a lot of questions that need answering. An important question to consider is whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability. The key to your success is by possessing the answer to this question and knowing 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. Using the Fair Housing Act as a basis, individuals with a disability are protected from discrimination when renting or buying a home, applying for a mortgage, and seeking housing assistance. For a disabled person to live comfortably and safely, the Act also requires landlords to allow for “reasonable accommodations” in a rental home. Some examples could be that someone with limited hand use may want to install special faucets or door handles meanwhile a tenant in a wheelchair may want to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp.

With these kinds of accommodations, a significant contrast is raised between letting a tenant modify a rental house at his or her own expense and is required to do it for them. While the law clearly states that a property owner should allow reasonable modifications, even so, it does not require landlords to pay for them. Under the Act and in advance of the start of any work, your tenant has to get prior approval from you. Also, you can legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. Also, you can ask your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, make them provide proof that the job will be accomplished well, and instruct them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval whenever required.

As 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 can include requests for service animals and other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. This also means you absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for making such accommodations, either. If you try to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants, you will be in clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

Usually, renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant can be a difficult task as you navigate through the Fair Housing Act. You can learn a lot about the law and what you legally can and cannot do when you study it, but the recommended choice is to receive assistance from property management professionals that are familiar with leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

Real Property Management Hartford Metro/Greater New London is resolute in adhering strictly to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We possess the skill and mastery to aid rental property owners like you follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our team of Mystic 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 860-436-9955 to speak with a representative.

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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