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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Bullhead City Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairRenting a single-family home to a disabled tenant may raise a lot of questions for property owners. Possibly the most significant question or concern is whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability. Realizing the response to this query, and how to handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations, is essential to your success and achievement.

Disabled renters have many legal protections that single-family rental property owners need to be informed of. Through 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. The Act also requires landlords to allow “reasonable accommodations” to be done to the rental house in order for a disabled person to live comfortably and safely. For instance, a tenant in a wheelchair may desire to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp, and also anybody with limited hand use could want to install and use special faucets or door handles.

These types of accommodations show a principal difference between permitting a tenant to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and being required to do it for them. Although the law clearly states that a property owner should allow reasonable modifications, it does not require landlords to pay for them. Under the Act, your tenant shall look for prior approval from you prior to initiating and starting any work, and you could legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. You might, moreover, require your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, get them to provide proof that the modification will be accomplished in a professional way, and ask them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval where required.

Simultaneously, 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 involves requests for service animals and additional accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. You absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for doing those accommodations, either. Any attempts to set terms or conditions unlike those of other tenants is a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

As you’ve been shown, negotiating the Fair Housing Act while renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant may be a dilemma. Although realizing, as far as you can, regarding the law and what you legally can and cannot do would help, the best choice is to have aid from property management professionals with skills and experience in leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

At Real Property Management Northern Arizona, we are devoted to strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We have the ability and practical knowledge to aid rental property owners like you to follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our team of Bullhead City property management professionals can really help to enable you to stay out of legal trouble and also help to respond to some issues that may be able to arise. Contact us online or call us at 928-757-7368 for more important facts and information.

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.