What Is A Reasonable Accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces.
Who Can Ask For A Reasonable Accommodation?
People with disabilities can ask for reasonable accommodations. A person with a disability is defined as:
- A person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
- Individuals regarded as having such as impairment; and
- Individuals with a record of such an impairment.
*Physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction (other than addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance) and alcoholism.
Can A Housing Provider Deny A Reasonable Accommodation Request?
A reasonable accommodation request must be reasonable and necessary. A housing provider can deny a request for a reasonable accommodation if:
- There is no disability related need for the accommodation; or
- If the request is not reasonable i.e., if the request would pose an undue financial or administrative burden on the housing provider or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations.
If a housing provider deems a request to be unreasonable, it is required to engage in an interactive process with the person requesting the accommodation to agree upon an alternate accommodation. A failure to reach an agreement on an accommodation request is in effect a decision by the provider not to grant the requested accommodation.
Examples Of Reasonable Accommodations
- A housing provider has a policy of providing unassigned parking spaces for residents. A resident with a mobility impairment requests an assigned accessible parking space closest to the entrance of her unit.
- A housing provider has a “no pets” policy. A tenant with a visual impairment requests that the provider allow him to have a dog as a service animal.
- A housing provider has a policy requiring tenants to come to the rental office to pay their rent. A tenant with a behavioral health disability that makes her afraid to leave her apartment requests that she be permitted to mail her rent to the rental office.