A reader who works in an apartment leasing office sent me a question related to my previous post which I wanted to answer in this space. The question concerned a resident who has made more than ten reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification requests. While the leasing office team member understood that she is required to follow the law and work with her resident, the staff member wanted to know if there was a complete list of reasonable accommodations and/or reasonable modifications that could be used as a guide.
The answer is no. While the available guidelines and resources typically list a number of similar accommodation and modification examples that are regularly received, there is no complete list of what a resident may need depending on his or her specific disability. There is just no way to provide a comprehensive list as each request involves a fact-specific inquiry given the nature of the disability and the needs of the resident. Similarly, as I noted in my last post, the law does not provide for any limit on the number of requests that a resident can submit.
I think the concern of the leasing consultant was not that she wanted to somehow stop attempting to meet the needs of her disabled resident, but that while she knew that professional apartment management employees must engage in the interactive process with all of our residents, her fear was that one resident was compromising the ability of the leasing office to work for all of the residents. While that can be a legitmate concern, it remains our responsiblity to evaulate and consider each reasonable accommodation/modification request as it comes in. And there just is no handy chart to review if the request is valid.
I also advise sending an interim response which is then followed by a final determination. Having both of these letters in your file will help ensure that we can document our efforts to work with our resident in the event a fair housing complaint gets filed. And if that happens, you will really need to speak with a lawyer like me.
Just A Thought.