Finding the ultimate occupant for your leasing property can be a daunting task. Likely renters come in all shapes and sizes, and there are others who have personal challenges of their own. From time to time, the personal challenges of an occupant overlap with your obligations as a landlord, and this is where the Fair Housing Act (FHA) often becomes the most important factor. It is necessary to find out what those obligations are in order to answer back suitably to conditions observed by the Act.
The Fair Housing Act’s reasonable accommodation requirements are designed to protect both you and your residents against disability discrimination. The sense behind this arrangement states that since certain documentation or procedures might affect persons with disabilities in another way than those without, administering all occupants just the same may actually negate disabled persons important use-aspects of a leasing property. For this intention, the FHA agrees to occupants to ask for “reasonable accommodations” at any point in the leasing development or settlement 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 might mean that an occupant with a hearing injury wants smoke sensors with flashing lights installed in the property. Other models 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 sorts these “reasonable” modifications is that they are both directly linked to the person’s disability and are within the means of the landlord to consent. Generally, occupants are in charge of installation and elimination of any physical variations.
This does not mean that landlords should accommodate every petition. For example, if an occupant with a phobia of dogs begs that a neighbor’s dog is removed from the house next door, this is without a doubt unreasonable and may be safely shorn off. Any amendments requested by the occupant must be both indispensable and within the property owner’s financial and administrative ability to fulfill. If an initial request is found to be unsound, the landlord should connect with the occupant to advise a substitute solution that may still attend to the disabled person’s provisions. The concept of “reasonable accommodation” is vast and quite adjustable, which means there will often be more than one effective solution.
Last thing a property owner needs is to worry about FHA compliance. At Real Property Management Deluxe, we have the expertise to guarantee you and your property 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 218-454-7962.
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.