There are many aspects to being a property manager or landlord. One of the more significant issues of property management is knowing a disabled tenant’s rights, as well as your responsibilities and obligations. Beyond your legal obligations as a landlord, you also need to ensure that you are providing good accommodation to your tenants. There are several valid criteria for approving or rejecting applications of prospective tenants. However, rejecting applications for tenants based solely on disability is highly illegal. With this in mind, it is essential for landlords to have a firm grasp of all aspects relating to tenants with disabilities. In this article we will explore the rights and responsibilities for tenants with disabilities.
To start with, as a landlord or property manager you will need to be aware of the laws and statutes regarding housing for tenants with disabilities. These laws are primarily designed to protect people with visual, mobile, and hearing impairments from discrimination. However, in the event that you have objective observations that lead you to conclude that your prospective tenant’s illness may prevent them from living safely in your rental, then you may reject their application.
Requesting more information about a disability
Issues pertaining to the disabilities of tenants are highly sensitive matters. It is no wonder then that landlords are not allowed to ask for information that pertains to the disability of a tenant. However, landlords may ask for specific details relating to a disability in the event a tenant makes a request for a special modification to the property. Where a tenant with a disability has made such a request, the landlord can ascertain the relationship between the request and the disability. If the request does not relate to the disability then the landlord can turn it down.
Questions that landlords can ask prospective tenants
Which questions are you permitted to ask potential tenants and which ones are you restricted from asking? The disability of a prospective tenant is a topic that you cannot pry into. However, questions that are non-discriminatory are appropriate and therefore permitted. Determination of the appropriateness of a tenant is the primary focus of the permitted questions. Here are the types of questions you can ask your tenant:
- Do you have a history of using illegal substances?
- Do you have an addiction to illegal substances?
- Can you satisfactorily meet all the tenancy requirements?
- Do you qualify for a rental that is available for people with a certain disability?
It is essential that you operate within the legal framework with regards to the questions you can ask prospective tenants. In addition, it is vital that you have a full appreciation of the questions that you are not allowed to ask tenants. Unless the tenant discloses their disability without cohesion then you are to treat them as you would any other tenant. Here are the types of questions you cannot ask your tenant:
- Do you have a disability?
- What does your disability restrict you from doing?
- Will your disability impact your ability to meet your financial obligations?
- Are you in a wheelchair?
- What is your medical history and do you use medication?
Protection of tenants from discrimination is the primary focus of these restrictions.
However, accommodating the needs of the disabled person must be the aim of these modifications. In addition, the modifications must not compromise the safety of other tenants. The purpose of a reasonable modification is to give the disabled tenant the best use out of their space.