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Seattle Landlords: What is ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ for Disabled Residents?

A Beautiful Single Level Home with Reasonable Accommodations for a Disabled Resident in SeattleAs a Seattle landlord of a single-family property, you need to comply with the Federal Fair Housing Act’s requirement to give ‘reasonable accommodations’ not only to disabled residents but also to residents who stay with or are associated with people with disabilities. But, what is ‘reasonable accommodation’ and what would ‘unreasonable’ be?

To begin with, ‘reasonable accommodation’ may be for the rental property’s physical components and might include basic changes, like lowering towel rods and light switches or a smoke detector that has flashing lights in addition to an audible alarm. Furthermore, the resident would shoulder the expenses for both the installation and removal of these accommodations.

Together with accommodations to the physical aspects of the home, your resident might request for ‘reasonable accommodation’ on the administrative side. Say you have a resident with a mental disability that influences their memory. This resident may request that you call to remind them to pay the rent each month. This is considered reasonable.

Now, let’s look at an example of what might be considered ‘unreasonable’. In this regard, one of the primary considerations is whether the accommodation would be burdensome for you as a housing provider. For instance, say you own a two-story single-family rental home and receive a request that you put in an elevator for somebody with a physical disability. This can be rejected as it would necessitate major construction and can be very expensive.

An unreasonable accommodation request can develop on administrative matters as well. Let’s assume you own a single-family residence and get a request from a possible resident with a mental impairment. They want you to call to remind them every day to turn the exterior lights on at night and off in the morning. This would be deemed unreasonable and you as a landlord can deny this request.

Real Property Management Eclipse is well versed in the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they concern you as a Seattle landlord with a single-family home. We can help you navigate these requirements to make sure that you are in compliance when renting to people with disabilities. Would you like to find out more? Please contact us online or call us at 425-209-0252 for more information.