Persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation of rental policies or a reasonable modification of rental premises under the State or Federal Fair Housing Acts.
Accommodation (RA) is a
change in a rule, policy, or practice to meet the
needs of a person with a disability. Examples:
method of rent payment
permission for support animal
number of bedrooms
Modification (RM) is a change in the physical structure of the dwelling
unit to meet the needs of a person with a disability. Examples:
bathroom grab bars
strobe light doorbell
What's a disability under the law? Any condition that persists for more than a year and affects one or more major life functions (need a reference)
"Nexus" is the connection between the disability and the requested accommodation
Why does DIRECT FEDERAL ASSISTANCE make a difference? When a property receives direct Federal assistance, the property (or program) is covered by the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Section 504. Under Section 504, the duty to pay for a modification shifts to the recepient of Federal funds. In fact, Section 504 does not make a distinction between accommodations and modifications. Both are accommodations. See Who pays
Here's the basics!
a reasonable accommodation
make request in writing to the person or at the place where you normally pay rent. Keep a copy. (NO THAT'S NOT WHAT THE
LAW SAYS, but you should make it easy to prove what you are asking for.
be prepared to offer documentation of the need for the service
animal. IF IT IS OBVIOUS, eg. trained seeing eye dog, there's a
the need is not obvious, provide evidence-usually a statement by a
medical professional that identifies the disability and explains the
connection (nexus) to the requested modification or accommodation. Documentation
need not be from a medical professional, a social worker,
psychologist, other professional who is familiar with the need could
provide the documentation.
to a request for a Reasonable Accommodation
1. Owner/agent may ask for documentation if a disability is not obvious. See
DOJ-HUD joint memorandum attached at the bottom of the page.
housing provider is entitled to ask for information that is necessary to
evaluate if a requested reasonable
accommodation may be necessary because of a disability that is not
obvious or to document the connection between the disability and the
requested modification or accommodation.
You may not apply pet rules (or any existing rules) to a service animal
or a require a pet
deposit. The process for determining what's REASONABLE involves a
discussion between the housing provider and the disabled person to find a
solution that works for both parties.