Many people have physical or mental problems that mean they have to do things differently. Or they may need help doing some things. This is called having a disability. Do you have a disability? You have a right to reasonable changes to help you use and enjoy your housing better. You need to ask your housing provider. Explain what you need. Ask them to help you figure out a change that will make your housing work better for you.
There are two kinds of changes you can ask for:
- reasonable accommodation
- reasonable modification
A reasonable accommodation is a reasonable change in any rule, policy or service that you need so that you can use and enjoy your housing just as someone without a disability would.
A landlord, condo association, real estate agent or other housing provider must make reasonable changes to rules, policies, or services if you need the change to use your housing like everyone else.
- giving you a closer parking space because you have trouble walking or breathing
- giving you a few extra days to fill out paperwork because you need someone else to help you
- letting you have overnight guests more often because you need overnight care for a medical problem
- letting you have your assistance animal even though they have a “no pets” policy
This video about reasonable accommodations is in American Sign Language (ASL) with English captioning. Information about reasonable accommodations starts at 1:30.
A reasonable modification is a physical change to the apartment or building. A landlord has to allow you to make reasonable modifications to the unit if you have a disability and the change is necessary to allow you full enjoyment and use of the unit.
A common example of a reasonable modification is building a ramp to a building’s entrance so that a person using a wheelchair can enter. Another is installing support bars in a bathroom.
If your landlord receives federal funding, the landlord must pay for the modification. Otherwise, you will probably have to pay for the modification. The landlord can also require that you put the unit back the way it was before you leave.
Your landlord, condo association, realtor or other housing provider must make reasonable changes to accommodate your disability. “Reasonable” means that the change:
- doesn’t cost the housing provider too much money or take too much time
- doesn’t make a fundamental change in the kind of housing being provided
- won’t hurt or damage the property or other people, and
- is a change that is possible
What if your housing provider makes the change but you are a serious threat to other people’s health or safety or to the property? The housing provider does not have to accommodate you.
Let’s say you have major depression. You have trouble keeping your house clean because of your depression. It’s reasonable to give you a little time to get help cleaning your home. What if you get help but your house still is so dirty that rats are coming? It’s not reasonable after the extra time and help to let you keep your home that dirty. Because that is a threat to other people and to the property.
This video about reasonable modifications is in American Sign Language (ASL) with English captioning. Information about reasonable modifications starts at 1:30.