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Housing: Your Legal Rights

What The Fair Housing Act Requires Landlords To Do

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Thanks to the Fair Housing:

  • Landlords must give the same terms and conditions for contracts they would give to other people.
  • Landlords must make reasonable exceptions in their policies and operations to afford people with an impairment full enjoyment of the premises. For example, a landlord with a "no pets" policy may be required to grant an exception to this rule and allow an individual who is blind to keep a guide dog in the residence.
  • Landlords must allow tenants with a handicap to make reasonable access-related modifications to their private living space, as well as to common use spaces. For example, tenants have to be permitted to add ramps or grab bars, to lower counter tops or to widen doorways. A landlord is not required to pay for the changes. The landlord may require that the premises be restored to their original condition when the tenant leaves if the request is reasonable.
  • Landlords must provide other reasonable accommodations. For instance, if the landlord has parking spaces, a tenant may ask for a space close to the building entrance even if the standard rules would give the spot to someone else.

A landlord does not have to provide an accommodation if the request is not reasonable.

  • A request may be considered unreasonable if it would create an unfair financial or administrative burden on the landlord or if it would fundamentally alter the nature of the landlord's operations. For example, putting an elevator in a small building is probably not reasonable.
  • It's up to the landlord to prove that an accommodation would be unfair. A request cannot be refused simply because it would take time or cost money.

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