Reasonable Accommodations & Modifications

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Under the Fair Housing Act, persons with disabilities are allowed to request reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications to fully enjoy their homes.

Federal law defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”

A physical or mental impairment can include hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, AIDS Related Complex, or intellectual or developmental disabilities that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, talking, hearing, seeing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, and caring for oneself.

Requesting a reasonable accommodation when using SSDI or SSI funds to pay rent

The Fair Housing Act protects resident’s rights to ask for a reasonable accommodation (RA) for an exception to rules and policies in order to accommodate a disability. You have a right to ask for your rent due date to be extended due to the extra time necessary for your Disability income to become available without being charged late fees and without being given a “Pay or Quit” notice. For example:

Joe’s rent is due on the 1st of the month. His SSDI income doesn’t get released until the 3rd of the month. His property management charges a $10 late fee for those who pay later than the 1st. However, Joe can request a RA to pay his rent on the 3rd in accordance with his SSDI payment.

The landlord may ask for verification, such as an award letter from the Department of Social Security, but should not ask you to go into specific details about your disability.

Request for a Reasonable Accommodation

Property Address:

The following member of my household has a disability: _________________________

This household member receives Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments due to their disability.

I am requesting the following change or changes be made and/or allowed so that the aforementioned person may have equal opportunity to use and enjoy this dwelling and common areas available to all tenants, as afforded by the Federal Fair Housing Act, Title 42 §3604, Subsections 3a and/or 3b.

Because the SSDI payments are received on the ___ day of each month, I ask that the rent payment date be moved to that date each month, and that late fees related to failure to pay rent on the 1st day of the month not be charged. I ask that any prior fees related to failure to pay by the 1st day of the month be refunded to my household.

An award document or Social Security statement showing that my household receives SSDI payments is attached to this request. Please respond to my request, in writing, within ten working days.

Signature: _________________________   Date: ____________________

If your request is ignored or denied, HOME may be able to assist. Contact us using the form below to tell us about your experience.

Reasonable Accommodations

A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to the rules, policies, or procedures. Any costs associated with a reasonable accommodation is the responsibility of the landlord, housing provider, or homeowner association. You cannot be charged a fee for your reasonable accommodation. Examples of requests include:

  • Waiving a “pet fee” for a service animal or an emotional support animal.
  • Allowing a tenant to transfer to a ground floor unit.
  • Providing a designated accessible parking space.
  • Allowing a tenant to break their lease without penalty if they can no longer live alone.
  • Allowing a tenant to pay rent at a later date without late fees if they receive SSDI or SSI.

Reasonable Modifications

A reasonable modification is a structural or physical change to the inside or outside of a unit or common area. In private housing, the tenant is responsible for costs related to the modifications. In housing that receives federal financial assistance, any costs associated with the modifications are the responsibility of the landlord. Examples of requests include:

  • Adding grab bars to a the bathroom walls.
  • Installing a ramp into a building.
  • Widening the doorway to accommodate a wheelchair or motorized mobility device.
  • Lowing the entry threshold of a unit.
  • Modifying door knobs to levers for someone with mobility impairments

If you need assistance with making a request for a reasonable accommodation or modification, please contact us. If you have been denied a reasonable accommodation or modification or feel that you are facing discrimination because of your disability, we urge you to report it to us so we can investigate and assist you. HOME can help you understand and advocate for your fair housing rights. There are no charges for any of HOME’s services and all calls are confidential. Interpreter services are offered in many languages.

HOME can also provide technical assistance to educate housing providers on fair housing laws so they do not discriminate.

Report a fair housing complaint to HOME