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 accommodate persons with disabilities. Refusal to give reasonable accommodations can be seen as a Fair Housing Act violation. Making that type of violation, even unintentionally, can result in years spent in court and money you would rather not part with spent on costly lawyers. Spending some time to read up on the matter can help you prevent all that unnecessary trouble.
What is a Reasonable Request?
Naturally, as a landlord with a single-family property to rent out in Pasadena, you want to accommodate all of your renters in any way you can, regardless of their particular needs. But, how do you know if your potential resident really has a disability? Managing a situation such as this can feel like going through a minefield; you need to proceed with caution.
If the potential resident does not have a very apparent disability but is asking for reasonable accommodations, such as having a ramp built onto a porch or having towel rods lowered, or even changing carpeting because of severe life-threatening allergies, you can request proof of the disability. Suitable actions and fair treatment of a person with a disability is a wide-ranging topic, and you do not want to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit, so it is imperative that you know and understand both your obligations and your rights.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
The first and foremost thing you have to remember is that you cannot refuse to grant reasonable accommodation requests made by a person with disabilities. The gray area surfaces when the conversation opens up to what information you can ask for and what is deemed reasonable. It is important to know, for your own safety, that you can definitely ask for medical proof that a person has a disability if the said disability is not obvious right away. A doctor’s note should be provided, and if there is a dispute, only the Department of Housing and Urban Development can resolve whether the proof is satisfactory or not. Also, you need to know that you are not responsible for giving any accommodation to anyone that would be financially burdensome for you as a landlord. Because you are not renting out apartments in a complex, you will not be expected to perform major changes to your home if they would be detrimental to your financial situation.
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 East San Gabriel Valley, we have available staff who are highly trained and well educated to work with you on tricky situations like these ones. Though you might not necessarily need property management for all areas of your rental business, when it comes to the federal government and observing regulations that can seem complex and rigid all at once, you should get help. For additional information, contact us or call us directly at 626-600-2884. After all, that is 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.