FBS Apartments, Condos and Homes For Rent in 69 zip codes throughout the S.D. Region
FBS operates Rental Properties for Independent Owners utilizing Industry Best Practices which creates direct benefits to our Rental Customers. We have provided Superior Housing Alternatives now in our 5th Decade. Our available rental inventory changes daily. www.fbs-pm.com
As professional managers we must stay on top of local, state and federal laws, regulations and housing codes that are imperative to our clients and rental customers. We review and update our contracts, policies, forms and routines with the help of KTS (Kimball, Tirey and St. John).
Here are some situations we have asked Ted Kimball, Lynn Dover and others to weigh in on -
What is the difference between a companion animal and a service animal?
There is no difference. In the eyes of the law, they are both types of assistive animals for persons with disabilities.
I have an applicant who uses a wheelchair. She wants me to put a ramp into her unit, widen her doorways and install a roll-in shower for her. Do I have to do this? My property was built in 1972.
As long as your property is not federally funded, you do not have make these modifications for the applicant. However, you do have to allow the applicant to make the modifications herself, at her own expense (assuming she rents the unit from you). The work must be done in a workmanlike manner and if the cost of the labor and materials would exceed $500, California law requires it be done or supervised by a licensed contractor.
Can I prohibit a resident from having a Pit Bull as an assistive animal?
No. You cannot impose breed restrictions on assistive animals. If a particular animal (regardless of breed) has a history of biting or other dangerous behavior, that animal should be able to be denied (although the resident could get a different animal).
My resident has asked for an accommodation and I don’t think they’re disabled. Can I force them to get a note from their doctor?
No. While you are entitled to written verification that a resident’s condition meets the definition of disability under California law and to verify there is a disability related need for the accommodation, you may not require this note to only come from a doctor. Any sufficiently reliable third party, which would include a doctor, may provide verification.
Can I require an applicant who uses a wheelchair to live on the first floor? We don’t have an elevator and I’m worried he couldn’t get out if there was a fire or other emergency.
No. This practice would be considered “steering”, or trying to control where the applicant lives on the property based on his protected class (disability). An applicant with a disability has the right to live in any apartment he chooses, assuming he meets your property’s screening criteria.
I am trying to evict a resident for his conduct on the property. He has indicated that his conduct is due to his current drug use and he asked me to give him another chance claiming his ongoing drug use makes him disabled. Can I continue with the eviction?
Yes. Although recovered drug addicts are considered to be disabled, someone who is currently engaged in the illegal use of controlled substances is not covered under federal or state fair housing law.
I entered my resident’s unit yesterday to check the smoke detectors and found that she is hoarding. I couldn’t even walk into a few of the rooms because of there was so much personal property inside. Can I serve her a 3-Day Notice to Quit?
No. Hoarding is recognized as a mental disability. Before you can evict, you generally must give the resident an opportunity to bring her unit into a safe and sanitary condition. If the resident refuses to take steps to remedy the condition of the unit after you have given her a reasonable amount of time to do so, then you should be able to terminate the tenancy.
I had an applicant who applied for an apartment today. She said she has two assistive dogs. Can I limit the number of assistive dogs to one?
No, you can’t limit the number of animals to one. However, you can require verification that because of the resident’s disability (or disability of other household members), two assistive animals are necessary.
My resident has an unauthorized dog in her unit. When I sent her a lease violation notice, she told me that her dog was an assistive animal. A few days later she brought in a Service Animal Certificate which she obtained from a website. Do I have to accept that as valid verification?
No. The websites that issue those types of certificates generally do not require proof of disability or disability-related need for the animal. Anyone can register their dog as a service animal by simply paying a fee to the website. Landlords are entitled to written verification that the resident has a disability and a disability-related need for the dog.
My resident is requesting a handicapped parking space. She has a handicapped license plate. But the space she is asking for is only about 25 feet away from her current parking space. Do I need to allow her to change spaces? I think her current space is already close enough to her unit.
Yes. If the resident is requesting a certain parking space and that space is available then you should allow the resident to change spaces. Landlords are not allowed to decide what the resident needs or doesn’t need because of her disability. The resident is in the best position to determine what is necessary for her disability.
This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. The law firm specializes in landlord/tenant, collections, fair housing and business and real estate, with offices throughout California. Property owner’s and manager’s with questions regarding the contents of this article, please call 800.338.6039.