Disability rights in housing have continued to develop over the years to protect individuals with disabilities. Housing rights for disabled tenants are protected by law and important to differently able people to understand fully. Fair housing disability rights include making reasonable modifications to properties or policies. Housing rights for disabled people apply to both public and private housing and when renting or buying a home. Disabled seniors should know how to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) should their rights be violated.
What is considered a disability?
If you would like to learn more about disability rights in housing, then you should first know whom these rights apply to and what is considered a disability. Fair housing disability rights apply to “Any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment or is regarded as having an impairment,” as defined by the federal government. The term disability can be applied to a number of physical and mental conditions and ailments. Download our free housing guide for details on the types of disabilities covered by fair housing laws.
Fair Housing Disability Rights
Disability rights in housing apply to current and prospective tenants. Housing rights for disabled people are upheld in private and public housing including Section 8 housing units. Fair housing disability rights prohibit any discrimination against a person who has a disability. This includes refusing to rent or sell to a person with a disability but also expands to the prohibition of any hidden fees that are disguised as additional rental fees, sales prices, application fees or more that would otherwise not be charged to an individual who was not afflicted by a disability.
Disability rights in housing also mandate that reasonable accommodations be made for an individual with a disability when it comes to changes to policies, practices, services or rules. Housing rights for disabled tenants include the opportunity to enjoy a common space or dwelling unit. This law ensures that disabled tenants will have equal use of housing through modifications of the physical property or in the policy of the residence. Accommodations may be required at each stage of a housing process including an application, tenancy or preventing an eviction. These housing rights for disabled tenants extend to the requirement that housing providers allow a disabled tenant to make reasonable modifications to the premises, such as installing a ramp, lowering the threshold of an entryway and installing grab bars in a bathroom. However, these modifications will come at the expense of the resident and not to the housing provider. For information on the allowed modifications, download our housing guide for seniors.
How to File a Complaint with HUD
If you believe that your disability rights in housing have been violated, then it is recommended that you contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This government agency handles all complaints related to fair housing disability rights, and filing a complaint is the first step in having a situation addressed. This is a completely free process. It is important to know that after an alleged violation, there is a limited timeframe to file a discrimination complaint. Complaints can be submitted in a number of ways. You can contact your local HUD office in person or over the phone to speak with someone directly or you can file a complaint online.
When submitting a complaint to HUD over fair housing disability rights, you should include information about disability discrimination that occurred such as the address of the housing and the person you are filing the complaint against. For complaints against housing rights, disabled people should include a description of the alleged violation or violations and the date or dates of when the violations occurred. You will need to include your name and address as well as the contact information for the accused. HUD will also speak to the alleged violator for his or her side of the situation.
It is worth noting that the HUD has 100 days to complete an investigation regarding fair housing disability rights but has the right to notify you if the investigation may exceed the 100-day period. Once your fair housing disability rights complaint is submitted, HUD will contact the alleged violator for further details on the incident or incidents that took place. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will seek to reach an agreement between both you and the respondent that protects both you and public interest. Both parties must adhere to the terms once an agreement has been reached, contracted and signed. If there is cause to believe that the agreement is breached or that nothing has been done, then the HUD will recommend the Attorney General to file a lawsuit.