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Raising Questions about Reasonable Accommodations

Newport News Tenant Cleaning Dishes in the Kitchen from His WheelchairRenting a single-family home to a disabled tenant can possibly cause many different questions for property owners. Most likely, the most critical question is whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability. Figuring out the answer to this question and problem, and how to handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations, is the essence of great success as a rental property owner.

Disabled renters have many legal protections that single-family rental property owners need to be aware of and sensitive to. In 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 built into the rental house in order for a disabled person to live comfortably and safely. For instance, a tenant in a wheelchair possibly need to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp, likewise, individuals with limited hand use would wish to install special faucets or door handles.

These classifications of accommodations bring about an essential differentiation between affording a tenant to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and who is required to do it for them. Despite that 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 will definitely have to request prior approval from you previous to any work starting, and you could also legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. You may, indeed, ask your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, oblige them to provide proof that the job is going to be brought about in a professional means, and require them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval where the need arises.

Accordingly, 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 includes requests for service animals and further accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. You absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for bringing about these accommodations, either. Any undertaking to set terms or conditions very different from those of other tenants is a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.

As you can observe, abiding by the Fair Housing Act all the while renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant can possibly be a challenge and of great concern. Despite that understanding about the law and what you legally can and cannot do could do a great deal to help, the best choice is to have help from property management professionals with skills and great experience in leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.

At Real Property Management VA Peninsula, we are very much committed to strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We have the abilities and practical experiences to enable rental property owners the same as you to follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our team of Newport News property management professionals can thus assist to help you stay clear of legal trouble and foster responsiveness to any other concerns that could possibly arise. Contact us online or call us at 757-251-9188 for more helpful advice 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.