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Understanding Reasonable Accommodation Requests: A Guide for Landlords

Man with disability and his service dog providing assistance.

Owning rental property can present challenges, especially when understanding and fulfilling reasonable accommodation requests for tenants with disabilities. Failure to provide such accommodations can lead to legal repercussions under the Fair Housing Act, potentially resulting in costly and protracted legal battles. Therefore, landlords must familiarize themselves with this topic to avoid unnecessary trouble.

What Constitutes a Reasonable Request?

As a landlord, accommodating tenants with disabilities is not just a legal obligation but also a moral responsibility. Identifying and fulfilling reasonable accommodation requests requires careful consideration and adherence to legal guidelines.

When a tenant requests accommodation due to a disability, it’s essential to evaluate the request promptly. If the disability and the necessity of the accommodation are evident, landlords should grant the request without delay. However, if the connection between the request and the disability is unclear, landlords may ask for additional information to assess the situation appropriately.

Note: Requesting medical documentation directly from the tenant is improper and should be avoided. Instead, landlords can request verification from trustworthy third parties, such as physicians or non-medical service organizations.

Gathering Necessary Information

When handling accommodation requests, landlords should only request information directly relevant to providing the requested accommodation or ensuring the safety and accessibility of the property. This includes details about disability-related necessities, emergency contact information, and, if applicable, information about assistance animals.

It’s important to approach these inquiries sensitively and respectfully, avoiding intrusive questions or unnecessary probing. Additionally, all information provided by tenants should be treated confidentially and shared only with individuals who require access for legitimate reasons.

Understanding Property Exemptions

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates reasonable accommodation requirements for most properties, including rental units and commercial spaces, certain exemptions apply. Owner-occupied properties with four units or fewer, such as single-family homes and small apartment complexes, are often exempt from ADA requirements. However, landlords should be aware that state and local fair housing laws may still impose obligations regarding reasonable accommodations.

By understanding reasonable accommodation principles and adhering to relevant legal guidelines, landlords can create inclusive and accessible living environments for all tenants while mitigating legal risks.

We’re Here to Help

The knowledgeable staff of Real Property Management Metro Detroit is anxious to assist you in comprehending the process of responding to accommodation requests. To guarantee that renters with disabilities are properly accommodated, we offer resources, carry out assessments, and engage with tenants. For more information, contact us or call us directly at 248-808-6550.

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.

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