Both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are clear that management cannot charge an extra fee or require an additional deposit for residents (or applicants) with disabilities as a condition of granting a reasonable accommodation or modification. That does not, however, mean that residents do not have to pay for damage they are responsible for. Here are two examples of how the process can work:
1. A resident lives in a property which prohibits motorized vehicles in the building. As a reasonable accommodation because of his disability, a resident asks for permission to use a motorized scooter throughout the premises. As noted above, the resident cannot be charged an additional deposit for using the scooter. Nevertheless, the resident still must use the scooter in such as a manner as not to cause a direct threat or otherwise cause damage in his unit, in the common areas, or to property belonging to other residents. If the individual’s use of the scooter causes damage to his unit, another unit, or the common areas, management may charge him for the costs of repairing the damage, provided that management charges all residents for costs beyond normal wear and tear.
2. Again, as noted above, a resident with an assistance animal cannot be assessed an extra fee. However, if the animal causes damage to the apartment or the community’s common areas – then the resident can be required to pay for the damage (above normal wear and tear), provided that management charges all residents for damage above normal wear and tear.
Make sense? Following these guidelines will help you from needing to speak with a lawyer like me after you have received a complaint from DOJ or HUD.
Just A Thought.