Rights of Disabled Tenants

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I am a person with disability but I have been renting all my life. I just moved to another state and tried to get an apartment. I went to Craigslist and found this beautiful apartment that has a ramp – perfect for my wheelchair. So I went over to get the answers to some additional questions that the ad left out. I had high hopes for the place but unfortunately, I was turned down. It was very surprising because they didn’t even ask for my personal and financial information and just said that I couldn’t rent. Isn’t this some kind of discrimination that I needed to report?



So after going through a lot of information available online and asking a few friends, I decided to file a complaint against that landlord. A new friend directed me to RPA and I used their complaint center. It wasn’t like a revenge or something. I just wanted to make sure that they be informed of their mistake so future tenants would not be treated so unkindly.

Who are disabled?

People with disability would be those who have:

  • mental or physical limitations
  • records of disability
  • been considered by others as someone with disability
  • mobile, visual, and hearing impairments, mental retardation, and alcohol and drug addiction (not caused by illegal substances)
  • HIV, AIDS and other related diseases as well as mental illness

What are the rights of a disabled prospect tenant?

According to the Fair Housing Act, tenants must not be discriminated based on their disability. This means that they should be allowed equal chance and treatment in tenant screening. A landlord is also not allowed to ask the tenant applicants regarding the extent of the disability or if there is disability at all. A look into the medical records is strictly prohibited as it has no bearing on the tenants’ ability to pay rent.

The only questions a landlord may ask would be the following:

  • If you can meet the tenancy requirements
  • If you abuse or are addicted to illegal and controlled substances
  • If you qualify for a rental unit that is available only to people with disability
  • If you quality for a rental unit that is offered on a priority basis only

When awarded the rental unit, the disabled tenant may modify it to make it safe and comfortable to live in. The landlord may also be asked to install dedicated outlets for medical equipment. If these will make living difficult for the next tenant, then the landlord may inform the tenant that the original setup be restored upon moving out.

Sometimes a landlord may ask for proof to justifications that you will make to the apartment unit. This is because there are some disabilities wherein their special needs are not very obvious – for example, mental illness.

So if your landlord goes against these provisions set in the Fair Housing Act, seek third party assistance through a mediation company or through a lawyer.

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Edited on: Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 2:39 pm

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