In 1988 the Fair Housing Act was amended to include disability as a protected class. Disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Unlawful policies and practices, and design and construction errors are the most common fair housing problems for persons with disabilities. Under the Fair Housing Act, persons with disabilities are allowed to request reasonable accommodations(changes to rules, policies, and procedures) and reasonable modifications(physical changes) to allow full enjoyment of a dwelling. Examples of discrimination include:
- Refusing to allow or charging a “pet fee” to allow a service animal or an emotional support animal onto the property.
- Requiring an extra deposit for a wheelchair or motorized scooter in case the device causes damage to the unit.
- Refusing to allow a tenant to widen their existing doorway to accommodate their wheelchair.
- Refusing to grant an accommodation for a tenant to break their lease without penalty if they can no longer live alone.
- Requiring a tenant pay extra for an accessible parking space