Managing your own West Valley City property can be audacious. You may have slightly fathomed that there are special codes of conduct you must abide by to accommodate persons with disabilities. Unwillingness to grant reasonable accommodations can be beheld as a disobedience of the Fair Housing Act. Making that kind of violation, even inadvertently, can develop in years spent in court, and dollars you would rather not part with spent on steep attorneys’ fees. Taking some time to train yourself on the matter can help you avert all that undue hassle.
What is a Reasonable Request?
To be sure, as a landlord with a single-family residence to rent out, you want to accommodate all of your renters, oblivious of their distinctive needs, in any way you can. But how do you know if your potential renter actually has a disability? Managing a situation like this can be like walking through a minefield; you must proceed with caution.
If the prospective renter does not have a visible disability but is making an entreaty for reasonable accommodations, like having a ramp built onto a porch or having towel bars lowered, or even having the carpet replaced due to severe life-threatening allergies, you can request proof of the disability. The rightful treatment of a person with a disability is an elaborate topic, and you don’t want to turn up on the wrong end of a lawsuit, so it is vital to recognize both your obligations and your rights.
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
First off, call to mind that you cannot refuse reasonable accommodation requests made by a person with disabilities. The gray area is entered when the conversation opens up to what information you can request and what is considered reasonable. It is useful to grasp for your own protection that you can, in fact, request medical proof that a person suffers from a disability if the said disability is not right off obvious. A doctor’s note must be provided, and, in the result of a dispute, only the Department of Housing and Urban Development can determine whether the proof is sufficient or not. Similarly, you should comprehend that you are not obliged to endow any accommodation to anyone that would levy a financial difficulty on you as a landlord. Because you are not renting out apartments in a complex, you will not be expected to make major changes to your home if those changes would be detrimental to your financial situation.
Are Your Properties Exempt?
Single-family homes rented without the use of a real estate agent or advertising are exempt from the federal Fair Housing Act as long as the private landlord/owner doesn’t own more than three homes at the time. Apartments of four units or less are also exempt if the owner lives in one of the units. However, even if this multi-family exemption applies to you, your rental advertising must still comply with the Act. Other exemptions include the rental of a single room in a home, qualified senior housing, and housing operated by religious or private organizations if certain requirements are met.
We’re Here to Help
Essentially, know that you are not without help. At Real Property Management Wasatch, we have highly competent and sophisticated staff on hand to work with you on uncomfortable situations like these ones. While you may not significantly need property management to supervise all areas of your rental business, with respect to the federal government and adhering to regulations that can feel complex and rigid at the same time, get help. For more information, contact us or call us directly at 801-418-9835.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.