REQUESTING A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION
Reasonable accommodations are a valuable tool to protect and preserve people's housing. An individual with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation in order to have equal access to housing. Frequently, housing crises can be solved with a request for a reasonable accommodation which can be made of any housing provider. Such requests can be made about Section 8 vouchers, RAP certificates and other housing assistance. When a tenant violates the lease agreement, and that violation is connected with his or her disability, the landlord must reasonably accommodate the tenant's disability unless it is an undue burden or a fundamental alteration.
- A reasonable accommodation is any change in policy or procedure that enables a person with a disability to access or benefit from housing. It cannot be an undue burden ($$$) or a fundamental alteration in the service provided.
- Refusing to grant a reasonable accommodation is prohibited housing discrimination and not responding to a reasonable accommodation request is a refusal.
- Housing providers cannot require medical records for a reasonable accommodation, but a qualifying disability must be shown (receipt of SSI or SSD is proof) and that the accommodation is connected to the disability. A specific diagnosis is not required to request an accommodation.
- Requests for reasonable accommodations can be made orally (and without being labeled a request for a reasonable accommodation). However, it is recommended to do it in writing to make a clear record. A landlord or housing authority may not require the use of a specific form.
- Requests for reasonable accommodations can be made at any time, including at the time of trial in housing court. (It's never too late to make a request for a reasonable accommodation.)
FAILURE TO MAKE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION FOR A TENANT'S DISABILITY IS UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINIATION
S.’s rent was increased by $100 a month. She would have been paying more than 50% of her income in rent every month. She would have to move to another town to an area where the rents were lower. S. had been recovering very well where she was living for 3 years; she knew her neighbors and was near her doctors and family. CLRP requested a reasonable accommodation of the Housing Authority to increase her Section 8 certificate to 110% of the Fair Market Rent for the area. The request was granted and S. was able to stay in her home.
T. applied for public housing and was turned down because of his criminal record (and some questions about his credit). He requested an informal meeting with public housing and CLRP accompanied him. CLRP brought a request for a reasonable accommodation and several letters of support to the meeting. The request was granted and his name was placed on the waiting list for housing.
- Even a difficult, uncooperative tenant must be reasonably accommodated if the failure to cooperate is related to his/her disability.
- Be creative in suggesting reasonable accommodations.
For more information about requesting a reasonable accommodation, please call CT Legal Rights Project: