It's not just a maintenance request! Reasonable accommodations are modifications that a tenant requests to be made to their rental property to accommodate a disability better. As a landlord, you have rights and obligations when considering a request for reasonable accommodation. In this blog post, we will explore what these are and give you our best Atlanta property management recommendations for processing these requests and caring for renters!
Reasonable Accommodation: What Is It?
Residents living with a disability can request adjustments to the lease or the rental unit that make it easier to conduct daily tasks during their lease term. Atlanta property owners can't discriminate against renters with an impairment--either during the screening process or while they live in a rental home during the lease term. Making modifications to accommodate a request is one way landlords must follow the law when providing to renters with disabilities.
For example, a tenant's request could include installing grab bars in the shower or widening doorways for wheelchair access. Refusing an accommodation violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and can be considered discrimination according to Fair Housing laws.
However, rental property owners are not obligated to make 'unreasonable' requests or go into debt for a costly accommodation. With expert help from an Atlanta property management company, landlords can understand the law as it applies to processes and making reasonable modifications for specific residents.
What Are Your Rights As a Rental Property Owner?
While it's never a good idea to get on the wrong side of the ADA, real estate investors do have rights when it comes to reasonable accommodation.
Work with a property management company to:
- Review requests from a renter with a disability
- Confirm that the requested modification is directly related to the renter's impairment (and that making the modification is necessary for them to live in your rental property)
- Research options that can reduce your out-of-pocket costs and propose affordable solutions that meet a renter's needs
- Propose sharing the costs of an expensive modification that is necessary but expensive and would be a burden to cover on your own
- Ensure that a modification doesn't adversely affect other tenants or neighbors
A property manager can tell you that landlords don't have to make a modification that requires extensive property renovations or creates inconveniences (or dangerous situations) for other residents, maintenance workers, or nearby neighbors or buildings. The law also does not expect property owners to take out a loan to cover the costs of a modification to meet a renter's needs.
In most cases, a cost-effective solution is a justified solution when responding to a modification request. For some accommodations like wheelchair access ramps, funding might be available to rental property owners.
Don't Ask the Wrong Questions
Not all impairments are physically or readily evident. Mental illness or chronic conditions might not be an obvious disability, but these impairments don't prevent a resident from requesting a modification.
Real estate investors must be careful about requiring proof of a disability or asking why a renter needs a specific modification to avoid the appearance of discrimination. Whether the request comes from a prospective tenant going through the screening process or a current resident who needs grab bars added to the bathroom, landlords must not ask discriminatory questions.
However, in some cases, rental property owners can request confirmation of a disability when reviewing a request for a modification. Work with a property manager in Atlanta to navigate this process. Proof can include:
- Documented information from a doctor, non-medical service agency, or another medical provider
- A credible statement
- Proof of supplemental income from residents under the age of 65 if the request involves adjusting the rent due date to coordinate payments around Social Security income
Real estate investors must be careful not to violate the law when requesting proof of a disability to justify a modification. A property management company can help guide you!
Work With Tenants For the Best Solution
Building good relationships with renters is a critical part of improving renewal rates and ROIs. When a resident requests a modification, work with them to develop an ideal solution that meets their needs and demonstrates your commitment to being a good landlord.
When making a reasonable modification, your resident will appreciate your response! It could be the start of a long-term landlord-tenant relationship when your renter feels safe and comfortable in your Atlanta property.
Plus, after modifying a property to accommodate renters with specific disabilities, your rental home is equipped to serve these residents again in the future. Providing safe, quality housing to people of all abilities helps you stand out in the Atlanta, Ga market!
An Atlanta Property Management Company Helps Investors Respond to Accommodation Requests
When it comes to rental properties, landlords must respond appropriately to reasonable requests for a modification. However, property owners also have the right to propose compromises for cost-effective solutions if a modification is too expensive or requires extensive renovations.
If you’re not sure how best to handle your tenant's request, contact our team of experts at Revolution Rental Management! We help property owners manage tenants and work with them on modifications so that everyone has what they need in the end. If you're dealing with a modification request or would like to learn more about your rights as a landlord, let's talk!