Making My Rental Unit Accessible
Can I Make Modifications to My Rental Unit to Make it Accessible?
Accessibility requirements for existing and new structures are the basic designs that allow people with disabilities access to and use of housing. People with disabilities understand the need to make modifications to their living environments. These modifications are often specially tailored to the individuals needs; thus, the law requires that landlords allow tenants to make reasonable changes or modifications to their units. These modifications may be made to the interior of the tenant's unit and to common areas where they are necessary. The tenant must pay the cost for these modifications unless the housing provider receives funding from the federal government.
Also, the law allows the landlord to set the following conditions before giving permission for modification: Under no circumstances can the landlord require people with disabilities to pay an additional security deposit or to sign a different lease. In cases where extensive modifications are made, the landlord may require the tenant to put enough money into an escrow account to cover the cost of restoring the interior premises to their original condition. The amount and terms of such an account are determined on a case-by-case basis. An escrow account is not meant to be used to discourage anyone from renting or modifying an apartment to meet his or her needs. Examples of common modifications:
- Installing grab bars in the bathroom;
- Lowering or removing kitchen cabinets;
- Installing a visual door bell or fire alarm;
- Removing a bathtub to install a roll-in shower; or
- Widening a doorway to the building laundry room.
The tenant agrees to:
- Restore the unit to its prior condition,
- Except for ordinary wear and tear;
- Provide a reasonable description of the
- Proposed modifications; and
- Provide reasonable assurances that the work will be
- Done in a workmanlike manner and that all
- Building permits will be obtained.