Sometimes there is a connection between a tenant's physical or mental disability and a lease violation. When this occurs, the tenant may ask the landlord for a reasonable accommodation that will allow the tenant to keep their housing. A tenant may make this request in connection with an eviction action or at any time before eviction.
Some examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- using a power of attorney to pay the rent on time,
- having a cleaning service clean the apartment, or
- moving from a one bedroom to a two bedroom apartment fora live-in aide.
Many older people benefit from a companion animal, based on a doctor's note that the animal helps with depression or other illnesses.
If there is a connection between the health problem and the lease violation, generally the landlord may not evict for the lease violation. The landlord may deny the reasonable accommodation request if:
- it would impose a large financial or administrative burden;
- it would change the nature of the housing provided; or
- it would not eliminate the direct physical threat to the health and safety of other tenants.
These reasonable accommodation rules apply in both private housing and subsidized housing. When a reasonable accommodation is granted, the tenant must then remain in compliance with the lease. A tenant may also make more than one reasonable accommodation request.
A tenant may also request a reasonable modification to their rental dwelling or to common areas of the building such as wheelchair accessible entryways to both dwelling units and common areas.
If a tenant needs a modification in order to use the apartment or house, the landlord must allow the modification if it is reasonable. In private housing (including section 8 voucher housing), the tenant is required to pay for the modification if it is reasonable.
Tenants who have either a physical or mental disability should consider using a request for reasonable accommodation or modification to obtain or keep affordable housing.