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Fair Housing, Section 504 & Reasonable Accommodations. Department of Housing & Urban Development MPNAHRO June16, 2014. FAIR HOUSING LAWS. TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 FAIR HOUSING ACT OF 1968, AS AMENDED IN 1988 SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973(UFAS)

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Fair Housing, Section 504 & Reasonable Accommodations

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Fair housing section 504 reasonable accommodations

Fair Housing, Section 504 & Reasonable Accommodations

Department of Housing & Urban Development


June16, 2014

Fair housing laws






Section 504 compared to the fair housing act

Section 504 Compared to the Fair Housing Act

  • Fair Housing Act - Discrimination - Seven Federally Protected Classes. Includes Disability.

  • Section 504 – Accessibility in Federally Funded Projects - Programs and Physical facilities.

Fair housing section 504 reasonable accommodations

What Do You See?



Simply put, discrimination means treating someone differently based on x, y or z.

Fair housing section 504 reasonable accommodations

Treat everyone


Protected classes


  • RACE




  • SEX



Discrimination based on national origin

Discrimination Based on National Origin

  • The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on national origin.

  • Discrimination is prohibited based either upon the country of an individual's birth or from where his or her ancestors originated.

    Common issues:

    • Limited English proficiency

    • Citizenship, legal resident, and


Familial status

Familial Status

  • Persons under the age of 18 living with:

    • A parent or legal custodian

    • The designee of a parent or custodian with written permission

  • Pregnant women

  • Persons in the process of securing legal custody

Discrimination based on familial status

Discrimination Based on Familial Status

  • The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing against families with children under 18.

  • This means it is unlawful to:

    • Outright deny housing to families with children

    • Impose any special requirements or conditions on tenants with children

      For example, a landlord may not:

    • Locate families with children in any single portion of a complex

    • Place an unreasonable restriction on the total number of persons who may reside in a dwelling

    • Limit their access to recreational services provided to other tenants

No national occupancy policy


Familial status occupancy standards


adopt reasonable occupancy standards

to limit the number of persons who can reside in a unit

Familial status occupancy standards1


adopt occupancy standards

(1) to exclude families with children.

(2) unreasonably limit the ability of families with children to obtain housing.

Occupancy scenario

Occupancy Scenario

Policy states:

  • Two persons per bedroom

  • Studios – 1 person

  • Children over the Age of 5 of the opposite sex must have separate bedrooms.

  • Children and parents cannot share rooms

  • What’s wrong?

Fair housing unlawful activity

Fair Housing Unlawful Activity

  • Failure to rent or sell a dwelling when a bona fide offer has been made, where the refusal is based on one of the protected classes

  • Discriminatory Terms and Conditions

  • Discriminatory Advertising

  • Falsely Denying Housing is Available

Fair housing

Fair Housing

What is Allowed?

Fair housing section 504 reasonable accommodations

Essential Terms of Tenancy

Meeting terms

Of the lease

1)Pay the rent on time

2) Maintain the unit

3) Obey the rules

Applicant inquiries

Applicant Inquiries

  • Make Policies Clear

  • Apply Them Consistently

    To All Applicants

Application intake waiting lists

Application Intake & Waiting Lists

  • Application Process without discrimination.

  • Does application ask if a person is disabled and needs an Accommodation?

  • Accessible Offices & Materials.

  • Do you provide reasonable accommodation information with application, move-in packets and at recertification?

  • Waiting lists – date and time stamped. Include information regarding disability requirements and need for accessible unit.

Tenant selection assignment

Tenant Selection & Assignment

  • Tenant Selection Plan – Eligibility & Screening Criteria.

  • Review eligibility requirements to ensure not discriminatory.

  • Screening Criteria – determine eligible household has the ability to pay rent on time and meet requirements of the lease and do not include discriminatory criteria.

Screening criteria

Screening Criteria

  • Drug Abuse and other Criminal Activity

  • Credit History

  • Rental History

  • Housekeeping Habits

  • Mitigating Circumstances

Prohibited screening criteria

Prohibited Screening Criteria

Criteria that could be discriminatory, such as:

  • Requiring Medical Evaluation or Treatment

  • Disability Status

  • Requiring Independent Living

Section 504 of the rehabilitation act of 1973

SECTION 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Found at 24 CFR Part 8.

Discrimination prohibited

Discrimination Prohibited

  • No qualified person with a disability shall, solely on the basis of disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives Federal Financial assistance.

Definition of a person with disability

Definition of a Person with Disability

  • A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity, has a record of such an impairment, or regarded as having such impairment.

  • Doesn’t include - Current drug and alcohol abuse.

Persons with disabilities

Persons with Disabilities

Major Life Activities:

  • SeeingHearing

  • WalkingBreathing

  • LearningSpeaking

  • Performing ManualTaking Care

    Tasksof one’s Self

Section 504 requirements

Section 504 Requirements

Section 504 Coordinator

Effective Communication Policy

Section 504 Notice

Grievance Procedure

Transfer Policy

Most Integrated Setting

Occupancy Accessible Units

Distribution of Accessible Units

Fair housing section 504 reasonable accommodations




Reasonable accommodations

Reasonable Accommodations

  • A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces.

Requesting an accommodation

Requesting an Accommodation

  • A reasonable accommodation must be requested.

  • Requests can be made at any time, by person with disability, family member or by someone else who is acting on their behalf.

  • A request does not have to be in writing it can be orally or by any other effective method.

  • Housing provider should place request in writing and document outcome.

Applying the principles

Applying the principles …

  • An oral request is enough – A written request may not be required.

  • The process should be quick and easy and should involve determining the answers to two questions:

    1.) Does the requester have a disability?

    2.) Does the requester have a disability-related need for the reasonable accommodation?

  • Determinations should be made on a case-by-case basis.

Evaluating reasonable accommodation requests


Housing providers must evaluate all requests for reasonable accommodations by appyling the general principals.

Housing providers responsibility

Housing Providers Responsibility

Engaging in an interactive dialogue:

It is necessary, when an applicant or a tenant requests an accommodation or modification, to engage in an interactive dialogue. One cannot simply refuse a request for a reasonable accommodation or modification. The interactive dialogue is an opportunity to become educated about the requester’s needs and to find an effective and reasonable solution for the issue at hand.

Verifying reasonable accommodations

Verifying Reasonable Accommodations

  • May request documentation of the need – only to extent necessary to verify they have a disability and if the requested accommodation is needed.

  • Apparent vs. non-apparent disability.

  • May not acquire confidential medical records or inquire into the nature or severity of persons disability.

Verifying reasonable accommodations1

Verifying Reasonable Accommodations

  • Verification of disability and need for accommodation can be from any qualified professional cannot require a medical doctor.

  • The professional can be: medical provider; Health Care provider; professional representing a social service agency; disability agency or rehab clinic or any other reliable source who is familiar with the individual and his or her disability related needs.

What is reasonable

What is Reasonable?

  • For an accommodation to be reasonable there must be an identifiable relationship or nexus between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability.

  • The requested accommodation should allow the individual with disabilities to use and enjoy the dwelling unit.

What is reasonable cont

What is Reasonable Cont.

  • The requested accommodation must be reasonable:

    *Does not impose an undue financial and administrative burden on housing provider.

    *Does not fundamentally alter the nature of the housing providers operations.

Reasonable modifications

Reasonable Modifications

  • An accommodation may require a structural modification to unit or common area.

  • Federally subsidized recipients are required to make and pay for the modifications.

  • Difference between Fair Housing Act and Section 504 – who pays.

  • Do not always have to approve if would result in undue financial and administrative burden.

Reasonable accommodation modification examples

Reasonable Accommodation & Modification Examples

A tenant with a mental disability is being evicted for violating community rules – request for accommodation to stop eviction to allow for time to acquire medical treatment.

A tenant becomes

disabled and requests

installation of a ramp.

Case study

Case Study

The XYZ Housing Authority has a tenant with disabilities living in a unit that is not accessible and has a thick carpet with a pad and a variety of other features that hinder the tenant from full use of the dwelling. The tenant requests a transfer to an accessible unit. After several other tenants have been transferred the tenant is moved. He is charged $500 to replace the carpet in his previous unit due to wear and tear and it cannot be cleaned. This is also the amount of the transfer fee.

Lawful or Unlawful?

Case study1

Case Study

This case Unlawful

The tenant should not have been charged the $500. The HA should have removed the pad under the carpet in the in accessible unit for the person to be able to better utilize the dwelling, the tenant had asked for it to be removed numerous times.

Discussion items: $500 damage or transfer fee? Length of time and being passed over for transfer? Did they have a transfer list?

Fair housing section 504 reasonable accommodations


Under Section 504 is it okay to charge an individual with disabilities for the cost of an interpreter? Allow the person with a disability to use a child to interpret?

Does a pregnant women meet the definition of a person with a disability?

If a person has been a drug addict can they meet the definition of a person with a disability?

Fair housing section 504 reasonable accommodations


If the housing provider does not have any accessible units can the provider deny individuals with disabilities from applying?

If the Resident Advisory Board meets in a building that is not accessible, since it is historic, can the housing provider deny persons with disabilities membership on the Board?

Reasonable accommodations quiz

Reasonable AccommodationsQuiz

  • Do reasonable accommodation requests have to be made in writing? By the person with the disability?

  • Do verifications of a disability and a need for a reasonable accommodation have to be from a licensed medical provider?

  • Can a request be turned down if there is not a nexus between the type of disability and the requested accommodation?

Reasonable accommodations quiz1

Reasonable AccommodationsQuiz

  • Does the housing provider have to pay for a reasonable modification? When don’t they?

  • Does a housing provider have to approve a request for an accessible parking space if none of the parking is assigned?

Reasonable accommodation quiz

Reasonable Accommodation Quiz

  • Can the housing provider require a tenant to move into an accessible unit when one is available if the disabled tenant is currently in an non-accessible unit?

  • Can a housing provider require a tenant to provide a name of a co-sponsor to prove that they can live independently?

Reasonable accommodation quiz1

Reasonable Accommodation Quiz

  • Can housing providers charge a tenant with a disability to transfer to an accessible unit from a unit that is not accessible?

  • Can a housing provider deny a request that entails taking the tenant to the store and assisting them with their shopping? If so, why?

To file a fair housing complaint

To File A Fair Housing Complaint

  • You can file a fair housing complaint by using HUD’s On Line Form accessible through our Web site


  • You can call toll free in Denver


  • File with a FHIP Agency if Applicable

Remedies for discrimination







Fair housing1

Fair Housing:

It’s Not an Option

Its the Law!

Fair housing section 504 reasonable accommodations


Fair housing section 504 reasonable accommodations

For more information contact:

Michele Hutchins, Equal Opportunity Specialist

Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development 125 S. State Street, Room 3001

Salt Lake City, UT 84138

(801) 524-6097-Direct line

(801) 524-6909-TDD/TTY line

1-800-877-7353 – Denver Toll Free

email: michele.hutchins@hud.gov

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