Q: How must a property owner or management company handle applicant’s requests for modifications?
A: Owners or agents need to:
1. Understand disabled persons have two special rights to insure equal rights in housing.
A. Right of Reasonable Modification: a physical change made to a unit that enables the person to have full use and enjoyment of the unit.
B. A change or alteration to a rule, policy, practice or service to allow the person
equal opportunity to enjoy their tenancy.
2. Have written procedures to handle disability requests.
A. They should be easy for the applicant to follow.
B. Procedures should be followed closely to ensure all applicants are treated equally and fairly.
C. Agent should be accommodating if applicant is unable to follow procedures exactly and ask for direction from
superiors or seek legal advice if necessary.
D. Requests should be handled in a timely fashion.
They should also be aware that:
1. Management or landlord is not required to provide modification until applicant or resident makes a request.
2. Requests should be in writing, but applicant or resident is not required to use management’s standard form.
3. If the request is made orally or the person is unable or unwilling to put it in writing, it must still be considered a request and management should put it in writing for applicant for resident to review and initial or sign, if possible.
Disability related requests:
1. If a request is clearly necessary and related to the person’s disability/adaptive equipment, for instance, widening a doorway for wheelchair bound person, no verification is necessary.
2. If person requests something that does not appear necessary in view of observable disability, verification of necessity of request is allowed — In addition, if there is no obvious evidence of disability, as in a case of mental disability, heart condition, etc., you may ask for verification.:
A. That the person meets state definition of disability.
B. That what they are asking for is necessary.
C. That the request is related to their disability.