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Disability Accommodation Requests

February 03, 2020

Reasonable Accommodation: Approve or Deny?

As a landlord, you may receive an accommodation request from your residents in order for them to access full enjoyment of the rental unit or building facilities.  

A person with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application process or during their tenancy. A disabled tenant is one who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities
  • has a record or history of a physical and mental impairment known by the landlord

Below is a list of some reasonable accommodation examples:

  • Permitting a household to have an accommodation animal
  • Transferring a household to a unit on a lower level 
  • Installing strobe type flashing lights for a household member who is hearing impaired
  • Making documents available in large type

To initiate the process, the landlord should provide the Request for Reasonable Accommodation or Modification to all residents who request reasonable accommodation. Residents may submit his or her request in writing or orally. Upon request, the landlord may assist the resident in completing the request form. In addition, the request form could be provided in an alternative format such as via e-mail. 

It is recommended within a reasonable time such as three (3) business days of receipt, landlord should determine whether additional documentation is needed to verify the disability or the nexus between the request and the disability. 

If additional documentation is required, a landlord may request as well as send, the reasonable accommodation form and Request for Verification to the third party such as medical professional. 

Responding the Request

Within a reasonable time, such as five (5) business days of receipt of the third party verifier’s response to the Request for Verification, landlord shall respond by either approving or denying the reasonable accommodation request. If no response from the third party verifier is received within a reasonable time such as fourteen (14) days of submittal of the Request for Verification, landlord shall notify resident in writing and respond to the accommodation request based on the information received to date.

Accommodation requests may be denied by the following reasons:

  1. The resident’s ability is not objectively apparent or cannot be verified by a third party.
  2. There is no nexus between the disability and the requested accommodation.
  3. The requested accommodation could result in a fundamental change in the nature of the property’s program where the resident resides.
  4. The requested accommodation could result in an undue financial burden to the landlord.

While your property may have a “no animal” policy, allowing no pets, you shall permit service and/or accommodation animals due to resident’s disability. If resident submits a request for an accommodation animal, landlord must review the request and respond in a timely manner.

You may deny the request for the following reasons:

  1. The animal has a history of aggressive behavior.
  2. The resident cannot provide proof of vaccination.
  3. The animal is of a breed that is prohibited under the property’s insurance policy. 

It is important that landlord executes an Animal Agreement upon approval of an accommodation animal request. Last but not least, the request that has been granted may be revoked if the accommodation animal causes injury to an individual or property damage. 

See further posts on management rules and regulations, Tenant Inspection Checks, and other apartment management  tips.


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