Fair Housing Act: Helping the Disabled Enjoy Home Rentals like Everyone Else- By: John Cutts
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects the disabled against landlords of homes for rent that may treat them unfairly. The FHA may be complicated like many laws but here is a summary of what a landlord do and must not do to a disabled renter.
Landlord Must Dos
- Rental managers must give reasonable exceptions to some rules to accommodate the needs of the disabled tenant. An apartment home rental with a no-pet policy cannot deny a need for a guide dog or other service animals. The tenant should just let the landlord know the need for the exception and prepare a physicianís statement that there is really a need for that accommodation. There is no need to explain the details of the disability and the reason for the special exceptions.
- The landlord must allow needed home modifications for the home for rent. Reasonable physical alterations like grab bars must be permitted. But the tenant must be prepared to finance for these alterations. Always ensure that the landlord has consented on the home rental modifications before actually starting.
- The landlord must present all the vacancies and let the tenant choose a suitable apartment for rent. It is up to the tenant if he would only consider accessible or ground-floor apartments.
- There must be no additional or discounted fees for the disabled tenant. The landlord must charge the same rent and fees to the disabled and the non-disabled.
Landlords Must Nots
- The landlord must never ask about the nature of the disability.
- The rental manager must not require independent living. The landlord must allow the need for a live-in aide or assistance.
- The landlord must avoid talking about the tenantís condition with other renters.
- A landlord must not reject a home rental application because they are unequipped with accessible features. The renter can determine his needs so he knows which features are essential.
- A landlord can never tell a tenant that wheelchair use is not allowed. This is illegal discrimination.
- A landlord must never commit steering or placing the disabled clients out of sight of other renters. The landlord must never decide on which part of the apartment for rent must the tenant stay.
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