disability applicant

10 Replies

I have an application in for a person on disabilty income. I dont want to ask any questions about it. my question is there any risk in having a disabled person in a non ADA unit? once their in can they use anything against me for not being compliant even though i have not advertised ADA in any way?

@Bryan Young , Before you worry about non-compliance of your property with their disability, first screen them as you would any other tenant so that they meet your qualifications for credit, income (be sure to ask for an award letter showing the amount they receive and you can track monthly installments by viewing their bank account statements), and rental history (get written permission from them on a form allowing you to contact their present and previous landlords; your form should ask them non biased questions that can be supported by documentation. For example, did they ever pay late and what were the dates? Were any three day notices issued and what was the reason? Did they leave the unit owing you any money?).

Don't ask them what their disability is unless they offer that information. They can request you make an accommodation but check with your state to see who foots the bill. Usually, it is the tenant if it is an accommodation that is made for their personal space but it could be the landlord if it is a common area like parking or access curbs in commercial units. In Cali, tenants can request an accommodation be made that is reasonable and the tenant usually pays for it and the landlord can require the tenant pay to revert that change made to the unit back to its original condition. 

The applicant may not make any requests.

In the meantime, I would check with your local rental housing association or HUD office to see what Fair Housing and ADA compliance classes are available if they offer them.

Good Luck!

Penny Clark, Property Manager in CA (#01986692)
(916)670-2286

Thank you penny very good information. He must have one a lump sum settlement because he has 16k in his checking and 360k in his savings (still working on verification). his previous landlords gave good reviews so he looks pretty good.

You could ask if their disability requires any special considerations in regards to housing.

Bottom line is proper screening including contacting previous landlord should answer all your questions. If the previous landlord knows what the disability is they can tell you without violating any laws. The information is considered common knowledge. 

Just because someone has a disability doesn't mean they need accommodation in housing.  Sometimes their disability is PTSD or some mental health issue.  There are plenty of disabilities that don't require physical accommodations.

If they don't mention it to you, I wouldn't worry about it at this point.

My point in suggesting to ask if accommodations are required has nothing to do with a interest in finding out about necessary accommodations. The purpose is an attempt to get the applicant to open up and talk about their disability without directly asking. Many people could care less if you ask and will talk openly about a disability but unfortunately our politically correct society is fixated on the lowest common denominator so this is unfortunately not possible.

I much preferred the age of ignorance when people could actually communicate openly. 

Per my understanding ADA compliance is only reinforced in commercial level.  In house or apartment unit it is not reinforced otherwise builders will require to make every home build out there with compliance. 

As a LL though, I think I would follow many suggestion above and follow with a letter to conclude the discussion with area of disability identified and clearly noted that tenant is aware the unit/house is not design for compliance in anyway and finally tenant accepts as-is condition.   

It is always wise to find out everything possible about a tenant which is why you contact their previous, not present landlord. Regrettably there is a growing number of disabled people that have mental problems. It's nice to find out those situations in advance.

I have a paranoid schizophrenic with persecution issues in one unit that hears voices and yells at them in the dark. The police, when called by other residents, show up in force and they have warned me to be very carful around him. Until he goes on a killing spree there is little I can do about him. Not a major issue for me now until the voices start telling him to kill his landlord. 

update, The tenant has great credit and a good background check. I spoke with previous landlords and they loved him, always on time. the kicker is he has no job but has 360k which is a little different but other than that he looks great. I think i will move forward with him. thanks for all the info

@Bryan Young Sounds like a good tenant, too bad you couldn't get a private loan from him with 360k in savings LOL.

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