Screening Disabled Applicant?

2 Replies

Since people with disabilities are a protected class, how do you go about screening them and what type of questions can you ask without breaking any laws? 

The applicant is disabled so there's no job or paycheck, but applicant gets a sizable disability check and social security benefits. The disability check and social security add up to 3X rent. 

But, I'm concerned about the disability check. I want a one year lease, but how do I know if the disability check will be a steady income for a year? Or, is it once you're on disability, you'll get it for the rest of your life? Without the disability money, the applicant won't be able to pay the rent just from social security. 

The applicant isn't even 60 yet, but is already receiving social security? Applicant showed me a copy of a letter form social security about current social security benefits. Is applicant already social security because of the disability?

When I check references with previous landlords, can I ask them what reasonable modifications or accommodations did they need to make for this disabled applicant? 

Is there anything else I need to know or should be concerned about with renting to a disabled person?

In Maryland ADA allows the *tenant* to make modifications to a property but *tenant* has to put the house back in order before they leave.  Any questions about income are the same as for anyone else.  Do due diligence as you would with any tenant.  I'm sure laws are different state to state.

Hi @Josh L. - Tammy is right.  A tenant has the right to apply for (and rent if qualified) any apartment/home they would like - and they will be the ones deciding if they need to make modifications.  Disability and social security are a lot more stable than many jobs, so that would not deter me. Also, they may be a great long term tenant. Most importantly - Follow the exact same screening process you do for everyone else.  

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