My last blog post prompted a couple of questions. So, I thought it was a good idea to provide some additional information about dealing with reasonable accommodation/modification requests.
In assessing requests for reasonable accommodations or reasonable modifications, management should consider the factors set forth below. In appropriate situations, management may request that a resident or applicant provide documentation from a medical professional concerning the applicant’s disability and the relationship of the requested accommodation to that disability. Leasing office staff should not deny an accommodation request based on a lack of sufficient information without first informing the applicant of its need for additional information and affording the applicant a reasonable opportunity to provide it.
A request for an accommodation shall be considered to be “reasonable” as long as it does not create an undue financial hardship and administrative burden or constitute a fundamental alteration to the property’s housing policy. The determination of whether an accommodation constitutes an undue financial and administrative burden shall be made on a case by case basis, taking into account the circumstances and resources available at the time of the decision. If granting the requested accommodation would create an undue financial and administrative burden, management should comply with the request to the extent it can do so without undergoing an undue burden. If granting the requested accommodation would constitute a fundamental alteration its housing policy, management may deny the request.
At a conventional property (which receives no government assistance) approved modifications are generally made at the expense of the resident. At an affordable property (which receives government assistance), approved modifications are generally made at the expense of management.
An “accommodation” is a change in a rule, policy, or procedure (such as waiving a “no pets” policy for an assistance animal). A “modification” is a structural change (such as grab bars or lowering a mailbox).
Make no mistake, if there are a number of different modifications or accommodations that would satisfy the needs of the person with the disability, management can select the option which is most convenient and cost effective, assuming there is no significant detrimental impact on the person requesting the accommodation.