Renting a single-family home to a disabled tenant could, indeed, start raising loads of questions for property owners. Maybe the most relevant question or issue is whether or not you are required to renovate your rental home to accommodate a tenant’s disability. Perceiving the appropriate answer to this question, and how to handle any requests a tenant makes for renovations, is the foundation to a favorable outcome and eventual success.
Disabled renters have many legal protections that single-family rental property owners want to be informed about. By the Fair Housing Act, individuals with a disability are protected from discrimination when renting or buying a home, applying for a mortgage, and seeking housing assistance. The Act also requires landlords to allow “reasonable accommodations” to be added to the rental house in order for a disabled person to live comfortably and safely. By way of illustration, a tenant in a wheelchair can look to install grab bars in the shower or tub for easier access or install a ramp, or anybody with limited hand use may be able to request for installing special faucets or door handles.
These sorts of accommodations put forward a vital distinction between allowing a tenant to modify a rental house at his or her own expense and being required to do it for them. Despite the fact that the law clearly states that a property owner should allow reasonable modifications, it does not require landlords to pay for them. Under the Act, your tenant has to ask prior approval from you before starting any work on any modifications, and you could also legally require them to return the rental house to its original condition upon moving out. You can likewise call upon your tenant for a detailed description of the proposed changes, mandate them to provide proof that the job would be completed in a professional manner and charge them to obtain any necessary building permits or owners association approval where needed.
Nevertheless, as the property owner, you cannot outright refuse reasonable accommodations or refuse to change policies or practices that would prevent a disabled tenant from using the house. This includes requests for service animals and some other accommodations that may otherwise violate the terms of your lease. You absolutely cannot charge a disabled tenant more rent for securing these accommodations either. Any effort, whatsoever, to set terms or conditions that are different from those of the other tenants are a clear violation of Fair Housing laws.
As you have seen, working by the Fair Housing Act and while renting your single-family home to a disabled tenant can turn out to be a challenge and may be difficult. Despite the fact that you may know a lot in regards to the law and what you legally can and cannot do might help, the most ideal alternative is to have help from property management professionals with extensive knowledge and experience in leasing single-family homes to tenants with disabilities.
At Real Property Management Investor’s Choice, we are truly dedicated to strict adherence to all requirements of the Fair Housing Act. We have the knowledge and training to make it possible for rental property owners so much like you to follow the rental practices that are well within the limits of the law. Our team of Nashville property management professionals can definitely support in helping you keep out of legal trouble and help as well in responding to any questions that may arise. Contact us online or call us at 615-810-9578 for more needed information.
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.