A lot of property owners will have a lot of questions should a disabled tenant desire to rent a single-family home. Whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability is an important question to ask yourself. Once you have the solution to this question and can handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations, you’ll find that you’re on the path to success.
Single-family rental property owners need to be aware that disabled renters have many legal protections that safeguard them. Using the Fair Housing Act as a basis, 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” so a disabled person can live comfortably and safely in a rental home. For instance, a tenant in a wheelchair might want to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp, whereas someone with limited hand use may need special faucets or door handles installed.
These types of accommodations depict the essential difference between granting a tenant the right to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and are 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 and before any work begins, your tenant has to ask for prior approval from you. You can also legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. Also, you can ask your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, make them provide proof that the job will be accomplished well, and instruct them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval whenever required.
Be that as it may, 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 can include requests for service animals and other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. Furthermore, you absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for customizing the accommodations, too. Don’t even attempt to set terms or conditions different from those of other tenants because you’ll find yourself in clear violation of Fair Housing laws.
In many cases, the challenge is figuring out how to navigate through the Fair Housing Act while renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant. By learning as much as possible about the law and what you legally can and cannot do can help a lot. However, the better option is to have support from property management professionals that possess the valuable experience of renting single-family houses to tenants with disabilities.
Here at Real Property Management Landmark, we are driven to abide by the strict adherence of all the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We possess the capability and professionalism to come to the aid of rental property owners like you. With our help, you’ll be able to follow rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our company of Hempstead property management professionals can lend you a helping hand by preventing any legal trouble and answer any queries that may arise. Contact us online or call us at 516-522-2859 to speak with a representative.
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.