Tracking down the perfect kind of resident for your rental home can be burdensome because of the many things that need to be considered. Potential renters come in all shapes and sizes and have their own challenges. Oftentimes, these personal challenges of a resident can pose a challenge for you and your property, and this is where the Fair Housing Act (FHA) comes in and have to be well understood by both parties as it significantly covers responsibilities and rules that are meant to be followed so that there is a clear agreement to what to do on certain situations.
The Fair Housing Act’s reasonable accommodation requirements are designed to protect both you and your residents against disability discrimination. The rationality of the policy is to impose a set of rules and or policies that affect persons with disabilities so as to promote fairness and equality for all renters. It is there to ensure that everybody gets to benefit from the same protection a rental home offer. For this reason, the FHA lets residents request “reasonable accommodations” at any point in the process of getting the lease 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 can mean that a resident with a hearing impairment wants to also have smoke detectors with flashing lights installed in the home. Other standards for 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
The essence of these “reasonable” modifications is that they’re both directly associated with the individual’s disability and are within the capacity of the property owner to allow. Normally, residents are liable for the setup and elimination of any physical changes to the property.
This doesn’t imply that property owners have to accommodate every single request. For instance, if a resident with a phobia of dogs asks that a neighbor’s dog is taken away from the property next door, this is obviously unreasonable and may be safely rejected. Any alterations that are being asked by the resident must be both required and with consideration to the owner’s ability to finance it and within the owner’s administrative ability to complete. If a certain request is determined to be unreasonable, the landlord needs to be able to provide along with the resident, an alternative solution that may still meet the disabled person’s needs. The notion of “reasonable accommodation” is comprehensive and quite flexible, which means there will every so often be more than one product solution.
The last thing that a property owner needs is to worry about FHA compliance. At Real Property Management Northern Arizona, 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 928-757-7368.
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.