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What Are My Rights As A Tenant With Disabilities?

If you have a disability, you have certain rights as a tenant, which are guaranteed by California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) as well as the federal Americans With Disabilities (ADA) act. 

If you have a disability, you have certain rights as a tenant, which are guaranteed by California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) as well as the federal Americans With Disabilities (ADA) act. 

But what are these rights? What accommodations can you ask for under federal and California law? In this blog from Schwimer Weinstein, we’ll provide some helpful information about your rights. Read on, or contact us now to get help from a Santa Monica tenant attorney now. 

Understanding Reasonable Accommodations Under Federal Law

Under the ADA, a disability is any “physical or mental impairment” that “substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Blindness, for example, is a disability. Federal law requires landlords to make “reasonable accommodations” in “rules, policies, practices, or services” that will allow individuals with disabilities “equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.” 

Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) act, for example, landlords renting buildings built after March 13, 1991 with more than 4 units and at least one elevator must provide “reasonable accommodations and modifications'' for individuals with disabilities.

An example of a reasonable accommodation would be requiring a landlord to provide a properly-sized and easily accessible parking spot to a tenant who has a wheelchair, and who must use a lift to get in and out of their vehicle.

Understanding Reasonable Accommodations Under California Law 

In addition to federal law, California has FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act). This law defines disability more broadly than federal law. It includes mental health disorders like clinical depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, among others like HIV/AIDS and epilepsy.

Under FEHA, a tenant with a disability can request reasonable accommodations so that they can “use and enjoy” housing in a way that is equal to individuals without disabilities. The housing provider must make the necessary changes to their rules, policies, practices, or services to accommodate this need. 

For example, landlords must allow tenants to make reasonable modifications to their homes at their own expense, such as installing a chair lift, grab bars in the bathroom, or a wheelchair ramp. However, the landlord may require the tenant to restore the property to its original condition when they move out. 

What To Do If Your Landlord Does Not Provide Reasonable Accommodations

If you have provided proof of disability, and your landlord is not making reasonable accommodations for your disability, you may need the help of a Santa Monica tenant attorney to fight for your rights, and ensure your landlord complies with the law.

With the help of an attorney, you can build your case and present it to your landlord, or even sue for noncompliance with the ADA or FEHA if your landlord still refuses to cooperate. 

Need Help? Contact A Santa Monica Tenant Attorney Today! 

You have the right to safe, convenient, and accessible housing in Santa Monica. If you are struggling to get your landlord to recognize your disability or make necessary reasonable accommodations, Schwimer Weinstein is here to help. Contact us now to get the assistance you need from an experienced Santa Monica tenant attorney.

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