Here at the Fair Housing Defense Blog, your humble editor always likes when I can answer a question with a “Yes” or a “No.”  I got such a question this morning.  In sum, the question was can an apartment management company charge an extra fee or require an additional deposit from a disabled resident or applicant in return for granting a reasonable accommodation request?  The answer is no.

Apartment management cannot legally require residents (or applicants) with disabilities to pay an extra fee or deposit as a condition of receiving a reasonable accommodation.

The issue typically arises with assistance/comfort animals or motorized scooters.  While many apartment communities charge a pet deposit and/or monthly pet fees, an appropriately documented service or comfort animal is not a pet and must not be charged additional fees.  With respect to scooters, management cannot require extra liability insurance concerning use of the scooter at the property.

Now, if the animal or scooter causes damage to the resident’s unit or to the common areas of the community, management can absolutely charge the resident for the cost of repairing the damage (or deducting the amount of the damage from a security deposit) as long as it is management’s practice to charge residents for damage beyond normal wear and tear.

Just A Thought.