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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Pillager Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairRenting out a single-family home to a disabled tenant raises a number of questions for property owners. The most important question is whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability. When you know the answer to this question and are capable of handling any requests a tenant makes for renovations, you’ll discover the secret to success.

Disabled renters have many legal protections that single-family rental property owners need to be made aware of. Regarding the Fair Housing Act, individuals with a disability are protected from discrimination when renting or buying a home, applying for a mortgage, and seeking housing assistance. So that a disabled person can live comfortably and safely, the Act also requires landlords to allow “reasonable accommodations” to be provided for in the rental house. Such as a tenant in a wheelchair may need grab bars installed in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp. At the same time someone with limited hand use may want to install special faucets or door handles.

These types of accommodations show a crucial difference between permitting a tenant to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and are required to do it for them. The law clearly states that a property owner should allow reasonable modifications, however, it does not require landlords to pay for them. Under the Act and before any work begins, your tenant has to ask for prior approval from you. You can also legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. Additionally, you can ask your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, make them provide proof that the project will be executed suitably, and demand that they obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval.

Even so, 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. Requests for service animals and other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease are also included. Moreover, you absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for making such accommodations. Any endeavors to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants is a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

Oftentimes, negotiating through the Fair Housing Act while renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant is a huge obstacle. Studying the law and knowing what you legally can and cannot do can aid you quite a bit. In fact, the optimum choice is to have the backing of property management professionals who have practical knowledge when it comes to leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

At Real Property Management Deluxe, we diligently work towards the strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We have the prowess and practical knowledge that can provide support to rental property owners like you. This will ensure that you are able to follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our group of Pillager property management professionals will come to your aid by keeping you out of legal trouble and answer any questions that you may have. Contact us online or call us at 218-454-7368 to learn more.

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.