Featured News 2012 Owning a Home when you have a Disability

Owning a Home when you have a Disability

According to the Fair Housing Act, all people have the right to own and operate a home. If you have a disability, you are protected under this housing Act and can seek litigation if you are not treated fairly. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, no landlord has the right to refuse to rent or sell housing to you because of your handicap, or set different terms on the property because of your illness. If you or anyone else that would live in the house with you has a physical or mental disability or even record of a past disability, the landlord cannot, under federal law, refuse to let you live in the home on that basis.

Disabilities can be anything from a hearing impairment to AIDS. In addition landlords can’t refuse to sell to blind people, those with chronic alcoholism, or anyone with a mental problem such as retardation, Alzheimer’s, Turrets Syndrome, or Downs’ Syndrome. Whether or not the disability is diagnosed, if the person in question has been regarded as having that disability, then it is considered enough to protect you. Your landlords cannot refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your home because of your illness, nor can he or she refuse to let you use common areas such as a community pool or park.

Sometimes, a landlord can provide that you are allowed to make changes to the property as long as they are reversed before you move. This is not considered an infringement on your rights, and is normally the requirement that every person must make when living in the complex. This would include any changes to the walls by adding grab bars or other disability aids. If a restricted person is going to dwell in an apartment, condo, home, or another piece of real estate, the landlord must make whatever reasonable accommodations are necessary in order to aid the disabled person in the housing. This may mean altering policies or practices in order to best fit the heath and abilities of the disabled person.

To use an example of a disabled persons’ exception, those who are visually impaired often have guide dogs to help them. An apartment complex that does not allow pets would have to alter their policy to allow a disabled person with a guide dog to rent there. Also, a complex that does not have assigned parking must still permit a handicap spot for a person with a disability who cannot walk far distances to and from the car. Disability spreads over a variety of illnesses and defects, but does not include those that are addicted to debilitating drugs. Because these people can often post a threat to society, they are not protected under the Fair Housing Act.

According to the Act, there are building requirements which make it possible for disabled person’s to live just about anywhere. In any complexes that are over four stories and have and elevator, the public and common areas must be accessible to people with disabilities. Also, all doors and hallways must be wide enough for a wheelchair to maneuver through comfortably. All units must have an accessible route into the unit, accessible thermostat controls, light switches, electrical outlets, and other controls from a wheelchair level, bathroom walls which are reinforced so that they can allow for the installation of grab bars, and kitchens and bathrooms that are usable by people in wheel chairs. In places that don’t have elevators, these standards must be placed on all the ground floor units where disabled people could live. If you have run into a housing situation because of your disability or the disability of a loved one, then contact a real estate attorney today!

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