Monday, May 23, 2016

Renter's Rights

Fair Housing training for people with disabilities

By Christina Clift
Christina Clift
On May 20, 2016 the Shelby County Office of Code Enforcement in partnership with the Memphis Area Legal Services Fair Housing Center held a workshop to inform the public about renter’s rights. During the two hour workshop the presenter provided information about the Fair Housing Act, The Memphis Fair Housing Ordinance, and more.

Both the Fair Housing Act and Memphis Fair Housing Ordinance provide protections against discrimination towards individuals with disabilities and other protected groups of individuals. The Fair Housing Center provided an understandable explanation and examples of what a reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification.

A reasonable accommodation is a change to an existing policy or practice. This means that if a person with a visual disability needed information regarding their rent or other issues that would normally be provided in print the accommodation would be to have that electronically communicated to them so that they could access it. A reasonable modification is a change to the existing structure of a facility. For example adding a ramp so that an apartment is accessible or adding grab bars to a bathroom.

When requesting either a reasonable accommodation or modification, it is important to put it in writing. The accommodation or modification must be requested based on how it would impact their disability. These requests must be reasonable and must not create a financial hardship for the landlord. If you are unsure about whether or not you’ve been treated fairly by your landlord or have been denied a reasonable accommodation or modification, you can call the Memphis Area Legal Services Fair Housing Center for assistance at (901) 432-4663.