Not everyone chooses or is able to purchase a home. Renting is a better option for some people including individuals with physical or mental disabilities. When someone with a disability applies for housing in your rental unit, do you know the laws and rights that protect that individual from housing discrimination? You may legally need to make changes to your lease agreement to accommodate your tenants with disabilities.
A disabled person qualifies for protection under this law if:
- A person has a written record of a disability
- A person has a mental or physical disability that limits his or her ability to perform major life activities
- A person is considered by other individuals as having a disability
Fair Housing and Questions a Landlord Can Ask
Fair housing laws protect individuals from being denied housing because of race, color, sex, religion, presence of children, and disabilities. This means Arlington property management companies can’t include any questions on a leasing application asking if a person intending to live in the unit has any disabilities. You also cannot ask how severe a disability is. Your leasing applications have to be fair and reflect a nondiscriminatory tone.
Reasonable Changes to Property
Your rental unit may also need to accommodate special requirements of a tenant with a disability. Arlington property managers can allow reasonable changes to your property as long as the changes are made at the expense of the tenant, and the property is put back to its original state when the tenant moves out. Stipulations and requirements for changes to accommodate disabilities is clearly defined in the lease agreement.
A costly mistake some Arlington property managers make is charging additional pet fees, or not allowing pets when a tenant has a service animal. A pet policy does not pertain to service animals. Service animal policies also cannot dictate the size or breed of the service animal owned by a disabled resident or charge extra fees for the animal.
Housing discrimination is a serious offense. Arlington property managers need to be aware of anything in their lease agreements or accommodations to the property that would not allow a disabled tenant to use or enjoy the property they are renting. Penalties and fines for housing discrimination are expensive. Your lease application and lease agreement documents are the first place to look for potential Fair Housing violations.
At Specialized RPM, we understand Arlington property management and the guidelines set by the federal Fair Housing laws and the proper documents that keep you in compliance and violation-free. We can manage your rental property with professional expertise for all tenants and circumstances. Let us show you our full range of services that guarantee the success of your rental property investment. Visit us at (www.specializedrpm.com)