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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Loveland Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairShould a disabled tenant desire to rent a single-family home, property owners will have a lot 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. The path to success is through knowing the answer to this question and how to handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations.

Disabled renters have many legal protections that afford them protection and single-family rental property owners should educate themselves on this topic. 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. For a disabled person to live comfortably and safely, the Act also requires landlords to allow for “reasonable accommodations” in a rental home. As an illustration, a tenant with limited hand use could need special faucets or door handles installed and a tenant in a wheelchair could also want to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp.

These types of accommodations show a crucial difference between permitting a tenant to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and is required to do it for them. While the law clearly states that a property owner should allow reasonable modifications, nevertheless it does not require landlords to pay for them. Under the Act, your tenant should try to obtain prior approval from you ahead of any work beginning, and it is possible to legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. Likewise, you can have your tenant give a detailed description of the proposed changes, demand that they provide proof that the task will be completed satisfactorily, and ask them to 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. This covers requests for service animals and other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. What’s more, you absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for making such accommodations, either. Any effort to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants is a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

As often as not, finding your way through the Fair Housing Act while renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant can be quite the challenge. 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 of the Rockies, we are keen to stick to strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We have the knowledge and the necessary background that can be of service to rental property owners like you. This can help you follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our group of Loveland property management professionals will come to your aid by keeping you out of legal trouble and answer any questions that you may have. For more information, contact us online or call us at 970-658-0410.

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.

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