There are rules and regulations to be followed strictly when you are a property owner, but none has proven to be more complex than the Federal Fair Housing Act’s requirement to allow ‘reasonable accommodations’ to not only the disabled residents but also to those residents who live with or are associated with disabled individuals. You may then ask… “What is reasonable accommodation?”
To be able to clearly explain ‘reasonable accommodation’, we have to distinguish the ‘unreasonable’ ones as well. First, ‘reasonable accommodation’ may be for the physical elements of the rental home, and might include basic modifications, such as lowering towel bars and light switches, or a smoke alarm that has flashing lights in addition to an audible alarm. Additionally, the resident would pay for both the installation and removal of these accommodations.
Now, these accommodations are just related to the physical aspects of the residence, other than that you may be asked to also provide ‘reasonable accommodation’ on the administrative side. For example, you might have a resident with a mental disability that affects their memory and this resident might request that you call each month to remind them to pay the rent. This would be considered reasonable.
Second, let’s look at an example of what might be considered ‘unreasonable’. One of the key considerations in this respect is whether the accommodation would impose hardship on you as a housing provider. For example, suppose you own a two-story single-family rental house and receive a request that you install an elevator for a person with a physical disability. This could be denied as it would require major construction and cost a great deal to you as the housing provider.
An unreasonable accommodation request could appear on the administrative side as well. Suppose you own a single-family residence and receive a request from a potential resident with a mental impairment to call them each morning and evening to remind them to turn the exterior lights on at night and off in the morning. This could be considered unreasonable and you as a landlord could deny this request.
Real Property Management DC Metro is well-versed in the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they apply to you as a Columbia Heights landlord with a single-family residence. We can help you navigate these requirements to ensure that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with disabilities. Would you like to learn more? Please contact us online or call us at 202-269-0303 for more 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.