We spend most of our time on this blog discussing the Fair Housing Act ("FHA") and ensuring that the FHA is complied with. However, there is more in this arena than just the FHA. Specifically, housing providers who receive federal financial assistance should be aware of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Section 504"). Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity that receives financial assistance from any federal agency.
This means that persons with disabilities may not be denied housing because of their disability and that management may not impose additional application or qualification criteria that are different than those required of persons who are not disabled.
Section 504 also prohibits housing providers from requiring that persons with disabilities live only on certain floors or to live in one section of the community. Housing providers may not refuse to make repairs and may not limit or deny someone with a disability access to recreational and other public/common use facilities.
Now, does this mean that management is required to accept any disabled applicant? Of course not. Section 504 simply mandates that a person with a disability be evaluated using the same objective criteria that are applied to persons without disabilities. Subjective fears, unsubstantiated rumors, speculation and general suspicion do not constitute objective information that can be used to deny an applicant.
Just A Thought.