The Cross Law Firm's Landlord Law Blog

February 25, 2010

Reasonable Accommodations for the Disabled: Your legal responsibilities as an owner or manager (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a 4-part blog series advising manufactured home community managers/owners on accommodating disabled tenants.

Obviously not all requests or demands made by disabled applicants or residents fall under the category of reasonable. What will determine reasonableness tends to be based on the extent of the modification to the community’s policies and procedures, the expense or burden of the modification to the community, as well as the necessity of the modification to the disabled individual’s equal use and enjoyment of the premises.

The courts have found the following situations not to be reasonable accommodations.

1. Waiver of a credit check or modifications to policies regarding establishing financial ability to pay rent (not including aggregate income of spouse requirement stated above)

2. Waiver of a guest-parking fee for a caretaker of a disabled individual when the parking of the caretaker was not shown to be necessary for the use and enjoyment of the premises by the disabled individual

3. Requiring the landlord to modify policy to accept Section 8 certificate holders to accommodate a disabled individual.

State and federal disability laws also require reasonable modifications to the existing premises if the modification is necessary to afford the disabled individual full and equal enjoyment of the premises. However, the disabled resident is required to pay for the expense of the modification to the inside of the premises, as well as return the premises to its original condition upon departure. An owner can require that a disabled resident sign an agreement to return the premises to its original condition once the disabled resident vacates the premises. The owner should not, however, request an additional security deposit. The courts have upheld the installation of a wheelchair ramp to the entrance of a home as a reasonable modification to the premises.

* For specific inquiries regarding a disabled tenant you may have, your welcome to visit my California Manufactured Housing Community and Mobilehome Park Owners legal services page.

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