Getting started‎ > ‎

Reasonable Accommodation

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.

Reasonable 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

Reasonable Modification (RM) is a change in the physical structure of the dwelling unit to meet the needs of a person with a disability.

  • bathroom grab bars
  • ramp
  • 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!

Requesting a reasonable accommodation

1. 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.

2. be prepared to offer documentation of the need for the service animal. IF IT IS OBVIOUS, eg. trained seeing eye dog, there's a presumption.  If 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.

Responding 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.

A 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.

2. 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.

Subpages (1): Who pays?