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If you have a disability, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations and modifications. Several laws, such as the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504, deal with these rights.

The requirement to provide reasonable accommodations and modifications applies to, but is not limited to individuals, corporations, associations and others involved in the provision of housing or residential lending, including property owners, housing managers, homeowners and condominium associations, lenders, real estate agents and brokerage services. This also applies to state and local governments, including in the context of exclusionary zoning or other land-use decisions.

A requested accommodation or modification may be necessary when there is an identifiable relationship between the requested accommodation or modification and the individual’s disability.

A provider is entitled to obtain information that is necessary to evaluate if a requested reasonable accommodation or modification may be necessary because of a disability. If a person’s disability is obvious, readily apparent or otherwise known to the provider, and if the need for the requested accommodation or modification is also readily apparent or known, then the provider may not request any additional information.

If the disability and/or the disability-related need for the requested accommodation or modification is not known or obvious, the provider may request only information that is necessary to evaluate the disability and/or disability-related need for the accommodation. This information may be from the requesting individual, a medical professional, a peer support group, a non-medical service agency or a reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual’s disability. In most cases, an individual’s medical records or detailed information about the nature of a person’s disability is not necessary for this inquiry and may be inappropriate.

A housing provider can deny a request for a reasonable accommodation or modification if the request was not made by or on behalf of a person with a disability or if there is no disability-related need for the accommodation or modification.

In addition, a request for a reasonable accommodation or modification may be denied if providing the accommodation or modification would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the housing provider’s program. The determination of undue financial and administrative burden must be made on a case-by-case basis involving various factors.

If an undue burden or fundamental alteration exists, the housing provider is still required to provide any other reasonable accommodation up to the point that would not result in an undue financial and administrative burden on the particular housing provider and/or constitute a fundamental alteration of the program.

When a housing provider denies a requested accommodation or modification, the provider should discuss with the requester whether there is an alternative accommodation or modification that would effectively address the requester’s disability-related needs without a fundamental alteration to the provider’s operations and without imposing an undue financial and administrative burden.

As part of this interactive process, the housing provider should recognize that the individual requesting the accommodation or modification is most familiar with his or her disability and is in the best position to determine what type of aid or service will be effective to meet a disability-related need. These discussions often result in an effective accommodation or modification for the requester that does not pose an undue financial and administrative burden for the provider.

A provider has an obligation to provide prompt responses to reasonable accommodation requests. An undue delay in responding to a reasonable accommodation request may be deemed to be a failure to provide a reasonable 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.

When a person with a disability believes that he or she has been subjected to a discriminatory housing practice, including a provider’s wrongful denial of a request for reasonable accommodation, he or she may file a complaint. If the individual who was denied an accommodation files a complaint with FHEO to challenge that decision, then HUD (or the state or local agency receiving the complaint) will review the evidence in light of applicable law and assess whether the housing provider violated that law.


If you believe you have been discriminated against in your efforts to find housing, reach out to us today. Our attorneys will be able to guide you to the best resources for your situation, including providing legal counsel and representation, if appropriate. Any help you may receive from us is completely free to you.