A “reasonable accommodation” is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces. Since rules, policies, practices and services may have a different effect on persons with disabilities than on other persons, treating persons with disabilities exactly the same as others will sometimes deny them an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. The Act makes it unlawful to refuse to make a reasonable accommodation to rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
To show that a requested accommodation may be necessary, there must be an identifiable relationship or connection between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability.
When and How Should an Individual Request an Accommodation?
Under the Act, a resident or an applicant for housing makes a reasonable accommodation request whenever he/she makes clear to the housing provider that he/she is requesting an exception, change, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service because of his/her disability. He/she should explain what type of accommodation is being requested and, if the need for the accommodation is not readily apparent or is not known to the provider, explain the relationship between the requested accommodation and his/her disability.
An applicant or resident is not entitled to receive a reasonable accommodation unless he/she requests one. However, the Fair Housing Act does not require that a request be made in a particular manner or at a particular time.
Although a reasonable accommodation request can be made orally or in writing, it is usually helpful for both the resident/applicant and the housing provider if the request is made in writing. This will help prevent misunderstandings about what is being requested or whether the request was made.
Return to Tenant FAQ