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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Castroville Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairWhenever a disabled tenant is renting a single-family home, a property owner may have quite a number of questions that need answering. An important question to consider 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. In reference to 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. In order for a disabled person to live comfortably and safely, the Act also requires landlords to allow “reasonable accommodations” to be made to the rental house. For instance, a tenant in a wheelchair might want to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp, whereas someone with limited hand use may need special faucets or door handles installed.

These types of accommodations depict the essential difference between granting a tenant the right to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and are required to do it for them. While the law clearly states that a property owner should allow reasonable modifications, even so, 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. Also, you can ask your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, make them provide proof that the job will be accomplished well, and instruct them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval whenever required.

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. This can include requests for service animals and other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. Moreover, you absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for making such accommodations. Any effort to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants is a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

Usually, renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant can be a difficult task as you navigate through the Fair Housing Act. You can learn a lot about the law and what you legally can and cannot do when you study it, but the recommended choice is to receive assistance from property management professionals that are familiar with leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

At Real Property Management Alamo, we are keen to stick to strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We possess the capability and professionalism to come to the aid of rental property owners like you. With our help, you’ll be able to follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our company of Castroville property management professionals can lend you a helping hand by preventing any legal trouble and answer any queries that may arise. Contact us online or call us at 210-600-5672 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.