An issue which regularly comes up for apartment leasing office staff (and which is at times misunderstood) is just how much medical information about a disabled resident or applicant must be provided to management. The general rule is that a leasing office may not ask if a resident (or applicant) has a disability. The exception to that general rule is that if the resident (or applicant) seeks a reasonable accommodation or reasonable modification specifically because of a disability. If such a request is made by someone who is disabled, management may then ask for proof of the disability to demonstrate the nexus (in other words — how the disability is related) to the requested accommodation or modification. The documentation can come from a medical professional (such as a doctor, nurse, or mental health care provider) and notes how the request will meet the needs of the disabled resident. The limited request for information, however, does not seek details of the disability nor do we seek medical history or records.
To be sure, there are times when even this limited information can be unnecessary. For example, if a resident uses a wheelchair for mobility, it is likely that management would not seek further documentation about a request for a designated parking spot.
Again, management should not ask for medical information unless the resident (or applicant) has made a reasonable accommodation/modification request which is based on his or her disability. While there is no requirement that the request be submitted in writing, it is a good practice to do so in order to ensure the record is complete. As the lawyer for the leasing office, I always advise that our response be in writing and that a copy of the response be included in the file. Indeed, I like sending an interim response as a place holder as well as a final letter explaining what we can do for our resident. Make sense?
Just A Thought.