- Disability Rights Washington - https://www.disabilityrightswa.org -

RiR Explains Housing Accommodations

Full Transcript of Video

NARRATOR: Home is where you should be most comfortable. And if you have a disability, you have the right to make your home accessible and request reasonable accommodations. People with disabilities have the same housing rights as other tenants. You can not be denied access to rental housing just because of a disability. You have the right to fully use all the features and benefits of your housing. And you can’t be charged extra just because of your disability. Tenants with disabilities have the right to ask landlords to change rules and procedures in order to ensure their housing is accessible. These are called reasonable accommodations. You might ask your landlord to give you an assigned parking space closer to your apartment. Allow you to use a mailbox at a lower level where you can reach it more easily. Allow you to mail in your rent check rather than making you pay rent in person. Permit you to have a service, assistance, or emotional support animal, even if they don’t normally allow pets. And you can’t be charged a pet fee for your animal as long as you request it and document your need. Landlords are generally required to grant these types of reasonable accommodation requests. That doesn’t mean they have to do whatever you ask. They may offer a different solution. But they can’t make these decisions on their own. The law requires an interactive process between you and your landlord. To be safe and comfortable, people with disabilities need to be able to fully move around and make use of their homes. Under fair housing law, you have the right to make your home more accessible to you, even if you are renting. These are called reasonable modifications. They may include modifications like widening the doorway so a wheelchair can fit through. Raising or lowering kitchen cabinets. Installing audio or visual alarm systems. Landlords aren’t usually required to pay for these modifications unless the housing provider receives some types of federal financial assistance. But they must allow you to make reasonable modifications at your own expense. You might have to remove modifications when you move out. Landlords can’t ask you to prove your disability just because they feel like it. But in some housing situations, you may have to provide documentation of your disability and disability-related needs. Documentation can be simple, such as a letter from a doctor or therapist. Landlords can not insist on unreasonable amounts of proof. If you’re worried about asking your landlord for accommodations or modifications, you should know that it is illegal to punish or evict you simply because you asked for reasonable accommodations or modifications. Be prepared to discuss and negotiate. If you can, think of a few different ideas that would work for you and give your landlord some options. But even if you think the landlord may not understand why you need the changes you ask for, you still have the right to ask. Remember, people with disabilities who rent housing have the same right as any other tenant to live comfortably in their home.