What Are Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications?|
WHAT ARE REASONABLE ACCOMODATIONS AND MODIFICATIONS?
What does the law state?
?Handicap? means: with respect to a person---
[Fair Housing Act. Sec 802. (h) (1), (2), and (3)]
1. a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person?s major life activities,
2. a record of having such an impairment, or
3. being regarded as having such an impairment, but such term does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance.
With regard to reasonable accommodations and modifications, it says [Sec. 804. (f) (3) (A) and (B)]
A. a refusal to permit, at the expense of the handicap person, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises, except that, in the case of a rental, the landlord may where it is reasonable to do so condition permission for a modification on the reenter agreeing before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted.
B. A refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
Who enforces these laws?
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) may choose to file a lawsuit if there is a finding of serious or widespread discrimination.
Q&A: Commonly asked and answered
Q. What is ?reasonable modification?
A. Not all physical modifications are ?reasonable.? A housing provider does not have to provide a physical modification if in would cause an undue hardship. Because this is a cost-based analysis, a decision must be made each time a request is made. Criteria to be considered in deciding whether a request would impose an undue hardship include the nature of the physical modification, the cost, the size of the owner?s overall housing business, including the number of units, the type of units, budget and assets, and the ability of the provider to recoup the expenditure. However, because the term ?reasonable? is rather ambiguous in its nature, it has not been objectively.
Q. How do I get a reasonable accommodations and/ or modification?
A. You must request it. Preferably in writing. (Sample letter available below).
Q. How do I prove that I need an accommodation and/or modification?
A. If you request an accommodation or modification, a landlord has a right to ask you to prove that you need it. But you only need to prove that you have a disability by providing proof such as a letter from a doctor, counselor, or social service agency. You do not at any time have to release medial records.
Q. How do you prove that I need an accommodation and/or modification?
A. If you request an accommodation or modification, a landlord has a right to ask you to prove that you need it. But you only need to prove that you have a disability by providing proof such as a letter from a doctor, counselor, or social service agency. You do not at any time have to release medical records.
Q. How many requests can I make?
A. The Fair Housing Act does not limit the number of reasonable accommodations or modifications requested or to be provided. Requests only have to be ?reasonable.?
Q. Who pays for the reasonable modifications?
A. In public housing, the finance agency or public housing authority pays for the changes. In a private setting, it all depends on individual cases. However, in the event that a physical modification is not reasonable solely because of the cost to provider, if you pay a sufficient portion of the cost, or the total cost so that the modification would no longer cause such an undue burden, a provider must allow the modification to take place.
Q What if I acquire a disability during the tenancy and need an accommodation or modification after I move in? Can I still request a reasonable accommodation and/or modification?
Q. What do I gain if I decide to file a suit or take an action?
A. If your claim is legitimate enough, you may receive the accommodation or modification you requested. It is also possible that you would receive compensation for emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorney?s fees.
Q. What is the first step to take if my reasonable request is refused?
A. You can contact the following agency and discuss your case.
---Northwest Fair Housing Alliance (NWFHA) at (509) 325-2665
---The Coalition of Responsible Disabled (CORD) at (509)-326-6355
---The HUD Fair Housing Complaint Hotline at 1-800-424-8590
---Washington State Human Rights Commission at 1-800-729-4960
Q. What are examples of reasonable accommodations and modifications?
A. Please refer to the example below.
[Put the date here]
Mr./ Ms. Name of Housing Manager
Name of Housing Authority or Management Company
Address of Housing Authority or Management Company
I am looking forward to become a tenant in your apartment units. As I understand the housing agreement set before me, there is a ?no pet? policy that a tenant has to comply with. As I mentioned before, I have a disability covered by the Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988. I also understand that a housing provider must comply with the law as well. Because of my disability, I am emotionally dependent on my dog and I will need to live with my dog continuously throughout my life. I request you to allow me to live with my dog as an exception to the housing policy you have set for tenants. This request, as defined by the above Act, is a reasonable accommodation which I am entitled to receive.
As I told you at the time of application process, I have a letter of recommendation which I am willing to submit upon your request to do so.
Please contact me at [give address or phone number] by [write deadline]. If I do not fear from you, I will assume that you have approved my request and will plan to move in with my dog.
[type or print your name]
EXAMPLES OF REASONABLE ACCOMODATIONS AND MODIFICATIONS
Physical Disabilities Visual Disabilities
-widening doorways -allowing a service animal
-ramp installation -reading a tenant agreement out loud
-grab bar installation -enlarging or audio taping of agreement
-allowing a single tenant a -providing extra lighting for the front
two bedroom apartment to door or other facilities
accommodate a caretaker -enlarging any signs, ?EXIT? signs
-hold application process at -removing obstacles from pathways
-providing an accessible reserved,
Hearing Disabilities: Psychiatric Disabilities:
-provide a door bell flasher -allowing service or companion animals
-provide visual flashers for smoke -provide an unit in a quieter part of the
detectors and telephone building
the interview and tenant meetings -being flexible about punctuality of
-allow/provide an interpreter for application process
the interview and tenant meetings -allowing to remove obstacles from
-allowing a service or companion from pathways
Cognitive Disabilities: Environmental Disabilities:
-provide the rental agreement -usage of non-chemical or toxic
in clear and simple terms fertilizers on the landscape areas
-provide help to understand -removing carpets, the ballast, or
the agreement and the rules fluorescent lights from the unit
-showing the tenant how to use -usage of unleaded paint for re-painting
facilities and appliances of the unit
-provide easier-to-use locks -posting ?No smoking? signs in
and other security devises common areas
-provide an automatic water
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