Rental properties: What counts as disability discrimination?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2022 | Commercial Real Estate Leases | 0 comments

When you invest in commercial real estate to rent to tenants, you do not expect to go through discrimination allegations. What happens if a tenant or potential tenant accuses you of disability discrimination?

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, discrimination includes any acts that single out a person because of his or her disability.

Obligations of the building owner

When you purchase a commercial building for multi-family use, you may have to make reasonable accommodations so those with disabilities have an equal opportunity to access the property and common areas. You do not have to make any changes that fundamentally alter the program or create a financial burden.

You also need to consider modifications to your building so those with disabilities can enjoy the facilities and housing. For example, if you have a common area with no ramp for a wheelchair, you may need to build one.

Common disability discrimination allegations

When it comes to disability discrimination allegations, take them seriously to ensure that you do not have any practices that someone may consider discriminatory. For instance, if a person asks you to install a ramp or grab bar in the building, you should not deny them.

Other allegations include asking about the nature of a person’s disability. You have a limited scope in what you can request a person about his or her mental or physical health. Additionally, you cannot charge a person extra for animals a person may assist animals.

To avoid discrimination allegations, building owners should listen to the needs of their tenants and take seriously accommodations requested by those with disabilities.