Managing your own property can be a challenge. You will come to realize that managing your own property comes with certain codes of conduct you must adhere to so you can accommodate persons with disabilities. Refusing to provide reasonable accommodations is ground for violation of the Fair Housing Act. Making that type of violation, even inadvertently, can lead to years spent in court and money spent on costly attorneys. Better brush up on the basics of such laws and educate yourself. This way you can avoid the unneeded stress and hassle.
What is a Reasonable Request?
As much as possible, you as a landlord with a single-family residence to rent out in Lynnwood, will want to accommodate all of your renters, regardless of their individual needs however you can. But, how do you know if your potential resident really has a disability? Managing this kind of situation can be like going through a minefield; you need to proceed with caution.
How then do you approach renters who do not have an obvious disability but are making requests for reasonable accommodations, like having a ramp built onto a porch or having towel bars lowered, or even having the carpet replaced due to severe life-threatening allergies? If that’s the case, you can request proof of the disability. Proper handling of an individual with a disability is an extensive topic, and you don’t want to end up on the bad end of a lawsuit, so it is important to know both your responsibilities and your rights.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
To begin with, know that you cannot refuse to approve reasonable accommodation requests asked for by people with disabilities (PWD). The gray area comes when the conversation opens up to what information you can request and what is regarded as reasonable. So, back to the situation above where a potential renter does not have an obvious disability. For situations like these, you can always request medical proof of the disability. A doctor’s note should be provided, and if there is a dispute, only the Department of Housing and Urban Development can decide whether the proof is sufficient or not. You have to also be aware that you are not responsible for providing any accommodation to anyone that would place a financial burden on you as a landlord. Since you are not renting out apartments in a complex, making major renovations that would be detrimental to your financial situation is not required.
Are Your Properties Exempt?
Single-family homes rented without the use of a real estate agent or advertising are exempt from the federal Fair Housing Act as long as the private landlord/owner doesn’t own more than three homes at the time. Apartments of four units or less are also exempt if the owner lives in one of the units. However, even if this multi-family exemption applies to you, your rental advertising must still comply with the Act. Other exemptions include the rental of a single room in a home, qualified senior housing, and housing operated by religious or private organizations if certain requirements are met.
We’re Here to Help
In the end, understand that you are not alone. At Real Property Management Eclipse, we have available staff who are highly trained and well educated to work with you on tricky situations like these ones. While you may not necessarily need property management to handle all areas of your rental business when it comes to the federal government and adhering to regulations that can feel complex and rigid at the same time, it is advisable to get help. For additional information, contact us or call us directly at 425-209-0252. That is, after all, what we are here for.
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.