One of the least understood parts of being a landlord is dealing with the rights of tenants with disabilities. Even if you own a property without taking any government money, you must still follow United States Housing and Urban Development(HUD) guidelines. Here are some key points you will want to keep in mind.
Illegal to Discriminate
It is illegal to discriminate against any person who has a handicap. Under HUD rules, this includes any person with a mental or physical condition. It is also illegal to inquire about whether a person needs a live-in helper at the property. It is not, however, illegal to turn down an applicant with a disability if you would turn down other applicants who presented a similar scenario such as not enough income or poor rental history.
Allow Reasonable Accommodations
The reasonable accommodations part of the Fair Housing Act has two parts. The landlord must allow for reasonable accommodations to be made to their property to make it more accessible to a person with a disability. The tenant, however, must pay for those changes in most cases. Additionally, the person with a disability must agree to restore the property to its original condition when they leave.
Landlord Must Make Reasonable Accommodations
On the other hand, a landlord must make some reasonable accommodations. For example, they must allow a certified service animal to live in an apartment where there is a no pet policy. They also must allow simple changes to rules like providing a reserved parking spot close to an apartment in a complex where there is no reserved parking.
Provide Non-discriminatory Housing
A landlord cannot set aside a certain property or portion of a property for those who have a handicap. A prospective tenant must be shown all available units unless they desire to only see those meeting certain conditions. For example, the landlord must tell a person in a wheelchair about an available unit on the fourth floor unless the tenant specifically asks to see only units on the first floor.
If you feel that you have been wrongly accused of discriminatory housing practices or been denied housing because of a disability, then consult a Utah attorney like Rex B. Bushman. He can help you pursue your case or defend you from wrongful discrimination.