You decided to become a landlord in Tennessee to make some extra cash and provide people with a great home. Recently, someone with a disability submitted an application, asking about your knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To help you understand your obligations, RentPost offers a foundational overview of your responsibilities as a landlord. Be sure you have your facts straight regarding structural modifications, reasonable accommodations and the like.

More than physical disabilities

While someone who uses a wheelchair has an obvious disability, other disabilities are not so apparent. For instance, an applicant may have a hearing or visual impairment that requires accommodation. Other disabilities covered by the ADA include mental retardation, mental illness and mobility impairments. No matter the disability or how visible it is, you cannot ask applicants details about the disability or ask for proof of impairment, at least not until the applicant becomes a tenant and requests a modification.

Reasonable accommodation

As for defining reasonable accommodation, they are changes to lease policies, rules and services that allow disabled tenants full enjoyment of their unit and shared spaces. As long as making such an accommodation does not become a financial hardship, by law, you have to honor a disabled tenant’s request for a modification or accommodation.

Structural changes you may need to make to your residential rental property include installing ramps, widening doorways and creating a handicapped parking spot. Only a licensed contractor should handle such modifications. You have to cover the cost of accommodations, some of which may turn out to be free, but disabled tenants are financially responsible for structural changes.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.