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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Wolfforth Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairRenting a single-family home to a disabled tenant might bring about several questions or concerns for property owners. Probably the most vital question for consideration is whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability. Figuring the answer to this concern, and how to handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations, is the formula to success and triumph as a rental property owner.

Disabled renters have many legal protections that single-family rental property owners have to be cognizant of. According 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. The Act also requires landlords to allow “reasonable accommodations” to be worked into the rental house in order for a disabled person to live comfortably and safely. As an example, a tenant in a wheelchair might wish to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp, likewise, anyone with limited hand use may perhaps need to install special faucets or door handles.

These kinds of accommodations show a significant dissimilarity between authorizing a tenant to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and being required to do it for them. Even though 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 should ask for prior approval from you previous to embarking on any work or renovation, and you may legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. You surely, furthermore, could demand from your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, make them provide proof that the job shall be executed in a professional method, and ask them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval where needed.

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 comprises requests for service animals and several accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. You absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for setting up these accommodations, either. Any other efforts to set terms or conditions differing from those of other tenants is a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

As you can tell, moving through the Fair Housing Act while renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant could be a challenge and difficult. Even though understanding as much as you possibly can concerning the law and what you legally can and cannot do can go a long way to help, the more effective alternative is to have help from property management professionals with the know-how and experience regarding leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

At Real Property Management Services, we are dedicated to strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We have the capability and understanding to assist rental property owners just like you to follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our team of Wolfforth property management professionals may empower you to keep out of legal trouble and can respond to several concerns and questions that might be raised up. Contact us online or call us at 806-853-6546 for more helpful details 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.

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