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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Madison Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairRenting a single-family home to a disabled tenant could produce certain issues and questions for property owners. Seemingly the most essential issue is whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability. Understanding the solution to this issue, and how to handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations, is fundamental to a positive and successful outcome.

Disabled renters have many legal protections that single-family rental property owners need to be conscious of. Pursuant 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 established in the rental house in order for a disabled person to live comfortably and safely. As an illustration, a tenant in a wheelchair could request to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp, likewise, any individual with limited hand use will look for installing special faucets or door handles.

These sorts of accommodations dredge up a noteworthy discrepancy between permitting a tenant to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and are required to do it for them. 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 is required to request prior approval from you in advance of doing any work or changes, and you also could legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. You can additionally oblige your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, ask them to provide proof that the revision should be performed in a professional way and require them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval where essential.

However, 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 consists of requests for service animals and extra accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. You absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for installing those kinds of accommodations, either. Various endeavors to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants are a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

As indicated, navigating through the Fair Housing Act while renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant might be a real challenge. Though understanding most of the law and what you legally can and cannot do can help a lot, the ideal alternative is to have support from property management professionals with expertise in leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

At Real Property Management Greater Madison Metro, we are very much dedicated to strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We have the skills and knowledge to support rental property owners like you to follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our team of Madison property management professionals could make it possible for you to stay away from legal trouble and aid in solving many questions and concerns that could occur. Contact us online or call us at 608-310-1290 for more detailed info.

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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