REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION AND MODIFICATION POLICY
It is the policy of Full Service Property Management, P Nelson Family LLC, and P Nelson Family 2 LLC to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants and residents who have disabilities, and to permit residents with disabilities to make reasonable modifications.
We will advise all applicants and residents of our willingness to provide accommodations by noting on application forms, rental agreements, and rules or regulations that “reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities will be provided upon request.”
DEFINITION OF DISABILITY
The preferred term is “disability”; however, a few fair housing laws use the terms “handicap” and “disability” interchangeably.
The Washington State Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) defines disability to mean the presence of a sensory, mental, or physical impairment that:
- Is medically cognizable or diagnosable, or
- Exists as a record or history, or
- Is perceived to exist, whether or not it exists in fact.
Under the WLAD, a disability exists whether it is temporary or permanent, common or uncommon, mitigated or unmitigated. Local fair housing ordinances contain similar definitions.
Under fair housing laws, the definition of disability does not include:
- sex offenders
- current illegal drug users (however, fair housing laws do protect people who are recovering from substance abuse)
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS AND REASONABLE MODIFICATIONS
An applicant or resident with a disability may need either a reasonable accommodation or a reasonable modification, or both, in order to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling (including public and common use spaces) or housing services. See Appendix B for a list of common accommodations and modifications.
A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that allows a person with a disability to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use areas. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- providing rental forms in large print
- providing a reserved accessible parking space near a resident’s rental
- allowing a resident to have a service animal in a “no pets” building
- permitting a resident who has developed mobility limitations to move to the ground floor.
A reasonable modification is a structural change made to a resident’s living space or to the common areas of a community, which is necessary to enable a resident with a disability to have full use of and enjoyment of the housing. Reasonable modifications can include structural changes to interiors and exteriors of dwellings and to common and public use areas. Examples of reasonable modifications include:
- widening a doorway for a wheelchair user
- installing grab bars in a bathroom
- lowering kitchen cabinets to a height suitable for a wheelchair user
- adding a ramp and handrails to make a primary entrance accessible
- altering a walkway to provide access to a public or common use area.
Accommodations – Fair housing laws require that we bear accommodation costs that do not amount to an undue financial and administrative burden. Most accommodations are no or low cost. We may not require people with disabilities to pay extra fees or deposits as a condition of receiving a reasonable accommodation.
Modifications – Generally, the resident will bear the expense of making reasonable structural modifications to a property. However, if the property receives federal funds, the housing provider usually pays, unless there is financial and administrative hardship.
Buildings subject to Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements – the housing provider may be responsible for making modifications that correct accessibility-related deficiencies. (Applies only to housing with four or more units, constructed for first occupancy on or after March 13, 1991 – see Resources and Guidance.)
Federally Funded Housing – If housing is federally funded, the housing provider is likely responsible for the costs of reasonable modifications. We will make appropriate changes to these staff guidelines to reflect that responsibility.
We may choose to keep modifications in place at the end of the tenancy, and in many cases, these changes enhance the general accessibility of the unit or common area.
At the end of tenancy, the resident is obligated, at the resident’s expense, to restore interior dwelling areas to their previous condition only where it is reasonable to do so and where we request the restoration. In general, if the modifications would not affect a subsequent resident’s use or enjoyment of the premises, we will not require the outgoing resident to restore the premises to its prior state. We will not require that the resident restore modifications made to the exterior of a dwelling, such as ramps to the front door of the dwelling, or modifications made to laundry rooms or building entrances.
In certain limited and narrow circumstances, we may require that the resident deposit money into an interest-bearing account to ensure that funds are available to restore the interior of a dwelling to its previous state. The resident is not responsible for expenses associated with reasonable wear and tear.
DENYING A REQUEST
If unsure about the reasonableness of the request, we will consult upper management before denying the request or conditioning approval on an alternative. If honoring the request appears very difficult, time-consuming or expensive, we will inform the requester of the concern and discuss how to identify easier, quicker or less expensive alternate accommodations that may work. In such situations, we will offer the requester the opportunity to amend the initial request. We may consult a local fair housing agency or other expert for technical assistance, accommodation ideas, funding resources, etc.
We will not deny a request for fear that an approval would encourage other people to request similar accommodation. Instead, we will assess each request individually.
The reasonableness of a particular accommodation or modification depends on various factors, including undue financial and administrative burden, fundamental alteration, or direct threat.
Undue Financial and Administrative Burden
A request is generally not reasonable if the accommodation would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on us. We will determine on a case-by-case basis whether a request would impose an undue burden, considering these relevant factors:
- the administrative cost or burden of the requested accommodation in comparison with the administrative cost of regular operation
- limits or availability of our overall resources
- the benefits that the accommodation would provide to the requester
- the availability of other, less expensive alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the requester’s disability-related needs.
Note: If granting the request would interfere with our compliance with historical preservation requirements or other regulatory restrictions, this may be considered in analyzing undue burden.
Fundamental Alteration in the Nature of our Business Operations
A request is generally not reasonable if the accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of our business operations. If the requested accommodation or modification is not reasonable, we can use the interactive process to explore other alternatives that would address the person’s need and that would be reasonable. [Example: A resident with a disability requests housekeeping assistance. Such a request is not reasonable because housekeeping is outside our normal business services.]
A request is generally not reasonable if the accommodation or modification would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others, unless the threat can be eliminated or significantly reduced by reasonable accommodation.
To establish direct threat, we need recent, objective evidence of behavior that puts others at risk of harm. However, all requests for accommodation will be evaluated, even from someone who is considered a direct threat or who has caused substantial property damage. In such a situation, the individual would need to present information that steps have been taken to prevent future harm. [Example: A resident with a disability who is considered a direct threat may request a reasonable accommodation during the eviction process by presenting information that s/he has taken steps to prevent future harm. We have a duty to consider the reasonable accommodation request before taking action.]