Scouting the perfect renter for your rental home can be a challenge. Would-be renters come in all shapes and sizes, and many have personal difficulties of their own. Sometimes, the personal difficulties of a renter extend along with what you have to do as a landlord, and this is where the Fair Housing Act (FHA) often comes into play. It is crucial to figure out what those commitments are in order to retort accordingly to conditions specified by the Act.
The Fair Housing Act’s reasonable accommodation requirements are designed to protect both you and your residents against disability discrimination. The reasoning behind this policy holds that since certain rules or policies could impact persons with disabilities in a different way than those without, treating all renters exactly alike may actually repudiate disabled persons key use-aspects of a rental home. For this aim, the FHA sanctions renters to request “reasonable accommodations” at any point in the renting method or occupation of the property.
So, what exactly is a “reasonable” accommodation?
According to the FHA, a “reasonable” accommodation is any modification in “rules, policies, practices, or services” necessary for an individual with a disability to have equal opportunity to perform routine major life activities (for example walking, eating, sleeping) at home. This could mean that a renter with a hearing loss wants smoke detectors with blinking lights installed in the home. Other examples of reasonable accommodations may include:
- Large print rental documents for the visually impaired
- Helping someone with mental impairments fill out paperwork
- Assigning a lower mailbox for a person in a wheelchair
- Permitting an assistance animal (including emotional support animals) in an otherwise “no pets allowed” residence
- Installing safety bars in showers or bathtubs
What makes these “reasonable” modifications is that they are both directly interrelated to the person’s disability and are within the qualification of the real estate owner to tolerate. Customarily, renters are liable for installation and deduction of any physical alterations.
It doesn’t mean that real estate owners should accommodate every demand. For example, if a renter with a phobia of dogs appeals that a neighbor’s dog is removed from the property next door, this is plainly unreasonable and may be safely repudiated. Any amendments demanded by the renter must be both compulsory and within the real estate owner’s financial and administrative capacity to meet. If an initial request is found to be beyond normal limits, the landlord should work with the renter to present an alternate solution that may still address the disabled person’s desires. The concept of “reasonable accommodation” is wide and quite manageable, which means there will often be more than one potent solution.
The last thing a real estate owner needs is to worry about FHA compliance. At Real Property estate Management Hartford Metro/Greater New London, we have the ability to guarantee you and your real estate will be up to the challenge of responding appropriately to accommodation requests. Want to learn more? Please contact us online or call us directly at 860-316-4388.
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.