Nobody has even said that managing your own property was easy, because if they say it is then they are definitely lying. Managing your own property is tedious, time-consuming, difficult and every bit challenging for the most part. There are tons of codes of conduct you must follow to accommodate persons with disabilities. Refusing to provide reasonable accommodations is a very good ground for violation of the Fair Housing Act. Committing that kind of violation, even if not done on purpose, means years of battling it out in court, and dollars you would rather not part with spent on expensive attorneys. Better saddle up on the basics of such laws and educate yourself that way you can avoid the unneeded stress and hassles.
What is a Reasonable Request?
Much as you as a landlord with a single-family residence to rent out in Acworth, want to accommodate all of your renters, no matter what their specifics needs are, there are times when you ask yourself what is too much and can you refuse a certain request? How do you know if your potential renter actually has a disability? This situation requires the patience and understanding on your part as managing a situation like this can be like walking through a minefield; you must proceed with caution.
Suitable actions and fair treatment of a person with a disability is a wide-ranging topic, and you do not want to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit, so it is imperative that you know and understand both your obligations and your rights. For example, if the potential renter does not have an obvious disability but is making a request 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, how do you deal then? What do you need to ask? What do you avoid asking?
What Information Can You Ask Your Tenants to Provide?
The first and most important thing that you have to remember is that you cannot refuse to grant reasonable accommodation requests made by a person with disabilities. What’s unclear is when the conversations are brought to the table what then can you request that is within bounds of the law and what do you avoid asking.
So, back to the situation above where a potential renter does not have an obvious disability. For situations like these, you can always request proof of the disability. It is important to know for your own protection that you can indeed request medical proof that a person suffers from a disability if the said disability is not immediately 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. You have to also be aware that you are not responsible for providing any accommodation to anyone that would place a financial burden on you as a landlord. Because you are not a 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
In the end, know that you are not alone. Our team at Real Property Management East Cobb, are highly trained and well-educated staff on hand to work with you on sticky situations like these. While you may not necessarily need property management to handle all areas of your rental business when it comes 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 770-622-5657. That is, after all, what we are here for.
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.