Spotting the model lodger for your leasing home can be a problem. Expected lodgers come in all shapes and sizes, and many have private issues of their own. Every now and then, the private issues of a lodger overlap with your obligations as a landlord, and this is where the Fair Housing Act (FHA) generally comes into play. It is critical to learning what those liabilities are in order to respond appropriately to cases covered by the Act.
The Fair Housing Act’s reasonable accommodation requirements are designed to protect both you and your residents against disability discrimination. The philosophy behind this procedure holds that since some guidelines or procedures might affect persons with disabilities in another way than those without, evaluating all lodgers exactly the same may indeed revoke disabled persons important use-aspects of a rental home. For this purpose, the FHA tolerates lodgers to request “reasonable accommodations” at any point in the leasing progression or occupation of the property.
So, what exactly is a “reasonable” accommodation?
According to the FHA, a “reasonable” accommodation is any modification in “rules, policies, practices, or services” necessary for an individual with a disability to have equal opportunity to perform routine major life activities (for example walking, eating, sleeping) at home. This may possibly mean that a lodger with a hearing deficiency wants smoke indicators with flashing lights installed in the home. Other examples of reasonable accommodations may consist of:
- Large print rental documents for the visually impaired
- Helping someone with mental impairments fill out paperwork
- Assigning a lower mailbox for a person in a wheelchair
- Permitting an assistance animal (including emotional support animals) in an otherwise “no pets allowed” residence
- Installing safety bars in showers or bathtubs
What makes these “reasonable” modifications is that they are both straightforwardly correlated to the person’s disability and are within the capacity of the property owner to allow. Sometimes, lodgers are answerable for installation and removal of any physical revisions.
This does not mean that landowners must accommodate every petition. For instance, if a lodger with a fear of dogs appeal that a neighbor’s dog is removed from the property next door, this is obviously unreasonable and may be carefully declined. Any adjustments needed by the lodger must be both significant and within the landowner’s financial and administrative ability to complete. If an initial request is found to be unjustifiable, the landlord should collaborate with the lodger to offer an alternative solution that may still address the disabled person’s needs. The concept of “reasonable accommodation” is broad and quite flexible, which means there will often be more than one effective solution.
The last thing a landowner need is to worry about FHA compliance. At Real Property Management Corazon, we have the expertise to guarantee you and your property will be up to the challenge of responding appropriately to accommodation requests. Want to learn more? Please contact us online or call us directly at 775-826-1414.
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.