A client contacted me seeking help with a reasonable accommodation question that I thought merited a blog entry.  The question concerned management’s responsibilities to residents who are hearing impaired and require a reasonable accommodation.  Must management provide a sign language interpreter for every communication with the leasing office?  The short answer is that management must ensure that its communications to individuals with disabilities (such as those with hearing loss) are as effective as are communications with others.  As I have written many times before, management must timely evaluate and respond to all reasonable accommodation/modification requests.
In order to provide equal access, management can be required to provide auxiliary aids and services that promote effective communication.  Examples of auxiliary aids and services include, but are not limited to: qualified interpreters, captioning, TTYs, and computer software.
Many apartment communities already have TTY devices to assist hearing impaired residents and applicants.  One option that may work is some circumstances is to sign your community up with a TTY service and let the residents and applicants know the service exists.  
To be sure, I have also seen guidance which notes that a sign language interpreter may be required when the information being communicated in a transaction is complex or is exchanged for a long period of time. Again, while an interpreter is not always required for all communication situationsmanagement does have to provide a solution that is reasonable. Factors to be considered when deciding if the use of an interpreter is appropriate can include the context of the conversation, the number of people involved, and the importance of the communication.  The cost of the interpreter is also a factor — but unless the cost is truly excessive — if it is determined that this is the only way to go, management is going to be responsible.
Just a thought.