A landlord cannot inquire about the physical or emotional disabilities of a tenant. The landlord must treat all perspective tenants the same no matter what disability each might have. Similarly, a potential tenant is not required to discuss the extent of his disability or injury with the landlord.
Landlord’s have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to tenants with disabilities. Reasonable modifications typically include:
- Lowering appliances
- Indoor ramps
- Installation of safety bars
- Widening of doorways
These reasonable accommodations can include structures such as parking spaces and wheelchair access. However, landlords are not always required to make these accommodations. For example, if the if the improvement will substantially impair the landlord’s ability to do business, they may be excused from making the accommodation.
A tenant is entitled to make reasonable modifications to his living space. The landlord can request what types of modifications are going to be made, and has a right to verify that proper permits and workers are being used. When a tenant leaves, he or she may be required to restore the living unit to its original condition.
The landlord should pay for reasonable accommodations on the premises. However, the tenant is usually required to pay for modifications in his own living space. A landlord and tenant should discuss what items both feel are reasonable and who should be responsible for payment.
Landlord-tenant law is difficult and confusing. A real estate lawyer can help you work with your landlord to make reasonable accommodations or modifications. If your landlord is unwilling to make reasonable accommodations, an attorney can help you sue the landlord in court.