CATHERINE M. MATTHEWS (R), GRI
Broker-In Charge, Callahan Realty, Ltd.
Past President, Oahu Chapter
National Association of Residential Property Managers
Q. I lived in my beautiful home for many years but have recently moved to an assisted living facility.
I am renting my home out and I received a call from someone who said they are disabled and would most likely need modifications to my home to allow them to live there. Do I have to show it to them? I really don’t want to make any changes. I would like to find someone who loves my home the way it is.
A. Yes, you have to show it to them. A more in depth answer to this question lies within the Fair Housing Act ( 42 U.S.C. 3601-3619) which falls under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. What your potential tenant is asking for is considered by definition under the act as a reasonable modification. The act also addresses reasonable accommodations. Both reasonable modifications and reasonable accommodations serve the same purpose; they allow persons with either mental or physical disabilities to fully enjoy the premises. To paraphrase the act, it states that a person’s disability must substantially limit a major life activity; those things important in daily life, such as seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for one’s self, learning and speaking. A reasonable accommodation is a change in rules or policies. A reasonable modification is a physical change to the property, and this is what your potential tenant has asked for you to allow.
The answer to this question is guided by strict Federal regulation and will be covered in depth at our upcoming seminar. This and so many other things about managing a rental property are regulated by both the Federal and the State government. Even if you manage your own property, you are held responsible to adhere to the laws. Not being aware of the laws is no excuse in a court and many of these laws have HUGE fines if you do not follow them.
Answers to questions in Landlord Tenant Q&A are provided by members of the Oahu Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), an organization that supports the professional and ethical practices of rental home management through networking, education, and certification. The Oahu Chapter, founded in 2004, has become the largest in the nation with 237 registered members.
Disclaimer: The answers provided in this column by Realtors address individual cases and should not be construed as interpretations of the law. For specific information on Hawaii State Law, go to http:// hawaii.gov/ dcca/areas /ocp/ landlord_tenant or contact an attorney.