According to the CDS, there are over 5 million adults in Texas that are disabled. There's a good chance that one of your future potential tenants will have one or more disabilities. As a property owner, it is your responsibility to provide acceptable living conditions for all residents and not discriminate against them.
But how exactly do those housing rights break down, and how do you manage that responsibility? It's important to know what you need to do as per the law.
Here's your guide to disabled tenant rights and how to provide fair housing opportunities.
Disabled Tenant Rights and Laws
What are the rights of tenants and your responsibility as a landlord?
First of all, a landlord must make reasonable accommodations for a person with a disability. The owner of the property pays for the changes and cannot charge the tenant. This means that a renter who develops a disability can request changes accordingly.
However, landlords cannot commit tenant discrimination if they don't want to make changes for a potential renter. There have to be other reasons to refuse them. That means you need to know local laws when screening tenants.
In addition, you must evaluate your programs and policies to ensure that they do not discriminate based on disability.
A reasonable accommodation is any kind of change that may be necessary for a disabled tenant to have equal opportunities to other renters. That can take the form of a change in rules, policies, or even the internal structure of the building.
In some cases, a request for reasonable accommodations may require that the applicant supply more information. However, it is not always necessary as is with more readily apparent disabilities.
If a landlord is unable to make a requested accommodation for one reason or another, they must do so to the best of their abilities. That may mean allowing a tenant to move into a ground-floor apartment if they are no longer able to use the stairs.
Service animals are one form of reasonable accommodation that disabled residents have the right to own. A tenant should not be required to pay an extra fee for owning a service animal but may be held responsible for any damages.
These assistance animals may be necessary for an individual to function and navigate the world. However, some people make claims that their pet is a service animal without actually having the qualifications. Make sure to verify the animal's status with its healthcare provider.
Provide a Welcoming Environment
It's important to know how to navigate the world of disabled tenant rights as a property owner. However, that doesn't mean you'll need to constantly make big installations or renovations. All that's required is that you create an environment that they can feel comfortable in.
Terra Residential Services can help you manage your properties in the Houston area. We can handle all the day-to-day so you can tackle life. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.