The Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires that management provide a reasonable accommodation (a change in a rule or policyor a reasonable modification (constructing, adding or physically removing something) when necessary to permit an individual with a disability to obtain an equal opportunity to use and enjoy rental housing. That being said, it is the responsibility of the person with the disability to request any necessary reasonable accommodations or reasoniable modifications believed to be necessary.

An easy example of a reasonable accommodation is modifying a no pet policy to permit a person with a disability to keep a service animal in an apartment community. Refusing to waive a no pets rule may constitute a discriminatory practice when a resident with a disability is unable to use and enjoy a dwelling, including entertaining guests with disabilities who require the use of service animals.  A typical reasonable modification would be to permit the resident to install grab bars in a shower or bath. 

Management may not unnecessarily inquire into the existence, nature and/or extent of a disability.  However, when an applicant or resident with a disability requests a reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification, he or she may be asked to provide some reliable professional documentation confirming that the disability and demonstrating how the accommodation is related to the disability such that it will assist the resident.

At a conventional property, the cost of the accommodation is typically the responsibility of the resident.  To be sure, many times management will work with residents to come up with some sort of cost sharing plan.  At an affordable property, management is required (within certain limits) to pay for needed modifications or accommodations. 

Management wants to engage in the interactive process with our residents and applicants.  When dealing with reasonable accommodation and/or modification requests, we don’t want to intrude into your medical history, except as necessary under the law.

Just A Thought.