Disabled tenants have far-reaching protections under the federal Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act and may also be further protected by state laws. As a landlord, adhering to these requirements is essential. Failing to do so could leave you vulnerable to costly lawsuits. Because landlord-tenant law can be so complex, it’s helpful to have a property rental management team in Mesa, AZ , on your side who understands the law and can act on your behalf. Here is what you need to know about the rights of disabled tenants.
Tenant Screening Process
By law, landlords are not allowed to ask about disabilities or illnesses during the applicant screening process. This includes both physical and mental disabilities, such as hearing and visual impairments, mobility issues, mental illness, HIV, AIDS, or mental retardation. Prospective tenants also cannot be asked about chronic alcoholism, provided they are in treatment. Further, landlords cannot ask about any history of disability or illness. In addition to not asking these discriminatory questions, landlords may also not use information they have about a tenant’s disability to make a decision about an applicant. For instance, if a prospective tenant is obviously hearing impaired, a landlord may not factor that into the decision-making process. A property manager can ensure all rental applications are legally acceptable and that the tenant vetting process meets legal requirements.
Right to Accommodation
Disabled tenants are legally permitted to make adjustments to a home to accommodate their disability at their own expensive. The adjustments must be reasonable and either must not make the home inhabitable for another tenant or must be reversible, at the tenant’s expense. Some of these modifications include lowering countertops and installing a ramp. Landlords must also make reasonable accommodations for disabled tenants, such as providing a disabled parking spot. However, landlords are not required to make changes that are too costly or that could interfere with their businesses, such as installing an elevator for a tenant with mobility problems when a ground-floor unit is available. A property manager can evaluate all tenant requests and help the landlord understand his or her obligations under the law.