Last week we took a detailed look at reasonable accommodation in regards to employment. However, reasonable accommodation doesn’t always have to involve employment or the work environment. This week we will explore how reasonable accommodation pertains to housing and the rights that come along with it.

Reasonable accommodation is a right individuals with disabilities have in regards to housing. According to the Supportive Housing and Homeless Programs (SHHP), a reasonable accommodation is a change, adaptation to a policy, program or services afforded to a person with a disability as defined under the federal civil rights law.

This means an apartment complex must allow an exception to a rule or policy if it would afford a tenant who is disabled an equal opportunity to use and enjoy an apartment at the complex. An accommodation that allows tenants who are disabled to experience the full benefit of tenancy must be made unless the accommodation imposes an undue financial or administrative burden on a housing provider.

Some examples of reasonable accommodation may include:

  • An apartment complex must make an exception to the “no pets” policy and allow a blind or visually impaired person, who is qualified to rent a unit, to live in the apartment with a guide dog.
  • If an apartment complex has a “first come, first served” parking policy for its tenants, the tenant can request that management grant a reasonable accommodation in its parking policy and reserve a parking space for them near their apartment, due to their disability.
  • A tenant who is disabled is allowed to have a live-in aid if required and necessary.
  • If a tenant has difficulty doing laundry and apartment complex has a rule that prohibits non-tenants from using the laundry rooms. If requested by the tenant, the apartment complex must allow a friend, family member, or personal care attendant to do the tenant’s laundry in the complex’s laundry rooms.

Our Independent Living Housing Specialist and Community Transition Service Coordinators shared what reasonable accommodation means to them and the consumers they work with.

“Reasonable accommodation is when a person is able to live independently within their own apartment, with a live-in aid, service animal or on the ground floor,” said Becky, an IL Housing Specialist.

Nicole, a Community Transition Service Coordinator, described reasonable for her as being able to look at an apartment or home for her consumers, and figure out how they can make the space more accessible.

“Getting to know people when you go to a place and getting a visual of what would it be like to be in a wheelchair preparing food in the kitchen, getting through doorways, getting in the bath, etc. More heightened awareness and sensitivity of what life is like,” Nicole said.

If you have additional questions, the we can help can answer your questions pertaining to reasonable accommodation in apartments. Please call them at 471-8181 if you have questions.