Tenant with disability

8 Replies

I just closed on a new home and am looking to rent out the home.  A possible tenant called me and said he is interested.  He brought up the issue that his daughter has been in a coma for four years and there is a lot of hospital equipment they would need to keep in the home.  He is asking for the bottom unit rather than the top.  My question is, what are the type of things i need to be aware of from a landlord's perspective on this unfortunate situation?  I do not want to discriminate, but need to be aware of all of the risks associated and what steps I would need to take.    

I would caution you to be very careful over 50% of fair housing claims filed last year we for disability. I would look up fair housing.gov and see what you are responsible to do.

Last thing you want is to get caught up on the wrong side of this law. 

How horribly sad. I'm NOT an expert, but my nephew is quadriplegic and he lived at my building for 3 years. I put in a ramp for his wheelchair, but other than that nothing more was required of me by law. The only other thing I can think of is security. Make sure windows and doors lock properly. That's true for any resident, of course. 

I would not discriminate. Unfortunately, she has the ultimate disability. 

I would think that this could be a positive. They will probably want to stay for a while, as moving would be a hassle. 

you are not required to rent 1-4units are exempt as are other federally protected classess

Originally posted by @Steven Picker :

you are not required to rent 1-4units are exempt as are other federally protected classess

This is not true. Better brush up on requirements established by fair housing law and non-discrimination law... local, state, and federal levels.

If the prospective tenant is qualified to rent the unit, then accommodate as necessary. Local fair housing offices can provide some guidance.

thank you for the responses.  I am not looking to discriminate, but more trying to understand what i would have to provide that is different from a tenant with no disability.  Also trying to understand what sort of liability and risk I would have once they are my tenants that are different from a tenant with no disabilities.

check exemptions owner of single family not using a broker, owner occupied 4 units or less

The requirements as a landlord are really not much more involved than with any other tenant. You should look up the amended fair housing act of 1988, here's the link (SEC 804.f.3) to the actual document so you can read for yourself what it says.

I'm not a lawyer, and there may be additional laws locally but the basics are: 

You must make reasonable accommodations for a tenant with disabilities in your screening and application process. It doesn't sound like that would really apply here as it seems the actual tenant (father) is capable of completing the screening application as any other tenant.

You must allow reasonable changes to the property for the tenant's disability. So things like a ramp or grab bars being added to bathrooms. Here is the key thing to know, those changes are not your responsibility to make financially or physically, and the tenants must have them removed at their expense upon vacating (assuming you want them removed of course).

So assuming the tenant qualifies and you rented to them your involvement, as far as accommodating their disability) is to know and understand any property changes that may be necessary. And then to allow them to pay for those changes.

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