Disability Rights in Florida Housing
Housing rights for disabled people in Florida are under the protection of both state and federal laws. Florida disability rights in housing operates on the federal definition of disabled, which is any individual who has a physical or mental impairment that creates considerable limitations to his or her principal life activities. Housing rights for disabled tenants extends to those with visual, hearing and mobility impairments as well as chronic alcoholism, AIDS and mental illnesses or retardation. Fair housing disability rights pertain to Florida residents in both private and public housing. There are many federal- and state-run programs available to disabled persons that cater to their specific needs. To learn more about the housing rights for disabled tenants in Florida, select from the topics below:
- What are fair housing disability rights in Florida?
- Florida disability rights in housing types: private and public
- What to do if you suspect violation of housing rights for disabled people in Florida
What are fair housing disability rights in Florida?
Housing rights for disabled people in Florida counties concerns compliance with federal regulations regarding treatment of tenants with disabilities and the construction of new units and housing rentals. The fair housing disability rights act, also called Title VIII, bans any type of housing discrimination such as a landlord refusing to rent or sell to persons with a disability based on their disability. In the state of Florida, housing rights for disabled tenants also include making reasonable accommodations. This can include changing a standard policy so that the disabled person has an equal opportunity in addition to physical changes to the unit so the disabled tenet can fully use the housing.
The fair housing disability rights statute states that multifamily housing with four or more units must comply with certain requirements. This includes doors, entryways and hallways that can accommodate wheelchairs. These conditions of the housing rights for disabled tenants may concern only the lower level units or the entire building depending on the construction date and if the building has an elevator. The fair housing disability rights act also states that all new construction of specific multi-unit buildings must also meet these requirements. Disabled tenets can apply for affordable housing in Florida to receive special vouchers, which are available for new construction homes designed for accessible by those with disabilities.
Florida Disability Rights in Housing Types: Private and Public
Housing rights for disabled tenants in Florida apply to both private and public housing. Based on the fair housing disability rights laws, private and affordable housing landlords cannot ask discriminatory questions about the disability or to ask to see medical records. Housing rights for disabled people in Florida prevents property owners and building managers from using a different application or setting a different price for disabled applicants. This means that the rental rate must also be the same as those offered to other potential tenants who apply for a similar unit. Disabled applicants who suspect discrimination can learn more about filing a lawsuit by downloading our free guide here.
While landlords must treat disabled applicants the same as other housing petitioners, they are also obligated to make special accommodations for tenants with disabilities. Florida disability rights in housing accommodation allowances can include a reserved parking space, installation of grab bars and permission to mail rent payments rather than dropping them off in person. Under the Florida housing rights for disabled tenants, property owners must allow assistance animals in units that normally do not permit pets.
Florida residents with disabilities should understand that modifications of private units may be the financial responsibility of the tenet. This includes lowering light switches in the unit as well as building a ramp in the lobby. Disabled individuals can find out how to apply for affordable housing vouchers that can offset these costs by clicking here for our digital Florida guide. However, the Florida disability rights in housing states that any reasonable accommodation that does not cost the landlord, such as the reserved parking spot, should also not cost the tenet. This includes waiving a pet fee for service animals and providing additional parking for home aides. Public housing or dwellings financed by the government, on the other hand, are responsible for making changes to accommodate tenets with disabilities.
While Florida disability rights in housing laws apply to both private and public housing, there are some exemptions. Owner-occupied buildings with less than four units are not subject to these laws. Additional exemptions to housing rights for disabled tenants include rentals in a single-family house, such as renting out a spare room, as well as private and religious organization that limits occupation to members. Individuals having difficulty finding housing that accommodates their disability can find out how to apply to public housing that must meet these requirements by clicking here for our comprehensive guide.
What to Do If You Suspect Violation of Housing Rights for Disabled People in Florida
The fair housing disability rights act states that victims of discrimination can file a lawsuit against the violator. However, the Florida disability rights in housing act is very specific about what constitutes discrimination in housing. For instance, housing rights for disabled tenants do not pertain to lodging owned by religions organizations or private clubs that limit rental to members.
If a landlord has refused to rent housing to a disabled applicant even though he or she qualifies, then there may be a case for discrimination. Likewise, if a landlord tells a prospective renter that there are no units or houses available when there are, then the applicants can bring up charges against that landlord. The only time the housing rights for disabled people in Florida allows a landlord to ask to see medical records is if the renter asks for modifications or accommodations.
If discrimination occurs, the potential renter should document and date each occurrence and then contact a lawyer who specializes in handling these types of cases. Violations of housing rights for disabled tenants requires petitioners to file a claim with the Florida Department of Housing and Urban Development. Find out more about filing a discrimination complaint in our comprehensive guide here.