What Renters with Disabilites Need to Know

By law, landlords may be required to make reasonable accommodations.*

But, what does the term reasonable accommodations really mean when a landlord who might rent to someone with a disability?

Note from No Non-cents Nanna. Thank you for your patience as I update this post on 3/19/2020 on the subject of Disability Rights to included many resources for so many who will not have the income to pay the rent or utilities. 


Alert: US Senate Needs to Include Disability in Third COVID-19 Stimulus Package

Contact Your Senator ASAP!

Right now, the US Senate is working on a third massive COVID-19 stimulus package. We must ensure that disability concerns are not left out. This third package must include the provisions of S. 3544/H.R. 6305, a bill focused on COVID-19 relief for seniors and poeple with disabilities. More than 105 million Americans—or about 4 in 10 adults—are at heightened risk if infected with COVID-19. The front-line workers and family caregivers who support these individuals also face increased risks, requiring additional resources and supports to protect their health and well-being. Your help is needed to alert Senators that we need disability funding in the third package.

Click link below to access their form to send a quick message.

I am happy you found this post and promise to keep updating as I find credible sources for how we will get through this COVID-19 health and financial scare.

If you have a disability and rent, you have a right to know who to ask for and how you can get assistance to make your home accessible for your needs that may have already been a challenge – now we have loss of income with COVID-19.

  • Reasonable Accommodation usually means that your landlord approves or disapproves. It does NOT mean that they build accommodation for you. You get the funds for the materials and proper workman to do the work.
  • The honest answer really opens up Pandora’s Box of more questions and answers than anyone can ever be expected. Opinions don’t count. But there are laws. containing specific words. Those words spell out the “it all depends…” and what is really reasonable is not a one size fits all answer for every need.

It often takes a team of professionals to evaluate and write a request. Just because someone wants an accommodation or even needs it, does not guarantee a reasonable accommodation will be granted. That can really stink! Plan B or C may need to be initiated.

  • *Due to overwhelming concerns about not being able to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing self-isolation many people are wonder ‘what if I can’t pay rent?’
  • I am in the process of editing, updating, and rearranging this old post for those who stumble on No Non-cents Nanna’s blog ‘What Renters with Disabilities Need to Know.’
  • I will NOT have any specific answers for anyone. However, I will have clickable links inserted in this post that may help get you started in the right direction for who to call ( stay home) or what questions to ask and ideas how to find an updated answer to best of my ability – ow with the best facts I can find.
  • This is post will explore things to consider and is not intended to be legal advice but get you started as you search for answers specific to your needs.
  • This post will share valuable links to resources that renters with disabilities will find helpful to bookmark.
  • You do have rights, renters, including not living in fear! If you have a disability you may have more protected rights under the ADA. Example: landlords can not ask certain questions like “why are you in the wheelchair.” As far as a service dog goes, they can only ask what tasks the service dog does for you. Your rights will vary from state to state.

*You still have to pay your bills evn if your income has stopped. But how?

Let’s begin to explore the basics.

My son’s use of a large wheelchair is an obvious need for a wheelchair-accessible home. But are the dark glasses due to visual impairment or because it is sunny? Disabilities are not always obvious. Is the dog a pet or a service dog? What questions can a landlord ask legally?

My son and I rent our home. My son has very obvious disabilities while I have significant disabilities that are not that noticeable to most people. I have first-hand experience as an old RN working with children with developmental disabilities and I live with the challenges in housing every day. I have some useful information to share.

I happen to be pretty good at researching. but not everyone is. No Non-cents Nanna’s posts are not meant o give medical nor legal advice.

Now and then I come across people with disabilities who have challenges in the rental market and need a quick resource on what they should reasonably expect of their landlord AND WHO TO ASK FOR HELP.

That is why I put together this blog post with some best of the best links I have found on-line because it all depends…one size does not fit all disabilities. This post may, in general, apply to most renters as well.

Disclaimer: Not meant as legal advice, but, for entertaining inspiration to start researching credible sources and seek proper counsel your own. ( Closed Facebook pages followers or trolls most likely will not give you the best advice unless they share credible links or the phone number of a good lawyer; bakery, mechanic or …)

What is included in the Fair Housing Act?


5 The Fair Housing Act’s protection against disability discrimination covers not only
home seekers with disabilities but also buyers and renters without disabilities who live or
are associated with individuals with disabilities

This apartment building built in the 1970s does not appear wheelchair accessible due to the steps. Is there another wheelchair-accessible entrance? If not, don’t expect the landlord to put in a $2,000 cement ramp. -see post for #disabledrenters #tips

*Helpful update 3/19/20 due to COVID-19 inserted

The city and school district are partnering on Families First, a five-year program that will provide $300 a month for up to 250 families. More than 1,000 St. Paul Public Schools students experience homelessness in a given school year, Superintendent Joe Gothard said.

The city is drawing the $3 million from its housing trust fund. The program also relies on a combined $590,000 in grant funds from the Family Housing Fund, McKnight Foundation, Pohlad Foundation and the St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation. The St. Paul Public Housing Agency will administer the rent subsidy.


Tenants and Landlords Are Terrified Coronavirus Will Mean Evictions

By Emma Ockerman

“The hourly workers, the lower-down workers, we don’t have any kind of surety right now,” …

 Advocates for …many low-income Americans — either because they lack the paid sick days they’ll need for quarantine, or because scores of low-wage, freelance, and tip-reliant jobs — won’t be able to pay their bills in two weeks.

evictions or foreclosures… utility shut-offs, late fees…inability to afford basic survival needs.

… Federal Reserve. And even with record-low unemployment, 17% of Americans fail to pay their bills each month. That’s without a pandemic streaking across the globe and bringing regular business to a standstill.

…Eric Tars, legal director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. “… being homeless makes them more vulnerable to the threats of the virus…harder to recover if you do get ill. …new public health crisis, on top of the current homelessness crisis, on top of the coronavirus crisis.”

For low-wage workers and cities, the real health emergency could be homelessness. So officials are advancing new proposals to temporarily halt evictions.

Updated: March 12, 2020 Since the publication of this story, other cities have started pursuing their own forms of eviction suspension, including L.A. and Miami.

 low-grade fear of getting the Covid-19 virus has been compounded with an urgent sense of economic anxiety. Under the states of emergency being declared in an increasing number of localities, large events have been canceled, public transit has been less crowded, bar and restaurant workers are losing out on tips and entertainers have had shows closed. In expensive coastal cities, where people can pay more than 30% of their income on housing, missing even one paycheck can mean falling behind on rent. And falling behind can mean getting evicted.

To protect low-wage workers from these ripple effects, two California cities, San Francisco and San Jose, are advancing legislation that would put a moratorium on evictions for people whose wages have been affected by coronavirus-related closures and work stoppages

*People experiencing homelessness are less likely to have access to medical care

Nationwide, about half of the unhoused people are older than 50, many of them falling into homelessness for the first time after that point. In tent encampments, people live far closer together than the six-foot radius researchers say Covid-19 can be transmitted over; in shelters, people sleep on the floor head-to-foot. People experiencing homelessness are less likely to have access to medical care, and more likely to have weakened immune systems.

San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo … more than 6,000 unhoused people…his city’s legislation to keep people from being evicted was a move motivated in part to preserve “public health and public safety.”

…that coronavirus-related issues have affected their ability to earn income will have the right to fight an eviction proceeding. The ordinance does not waive rent payments entirely; it just defers them, and prevents landlords from moving forward with unfair oustings. Under Preston’s plan, rent doesn’t need to be paid back until after the mayor-mandated state of the emergency has been lifted. Under Liccardo’s, the moratorium would last 30 days, with the option to extend it each month.

“The reality is a lot of landlords, especially folks who own rent-controlled units in San Francisco, are looking for ways in the law that they can evict long-term tenants who are low-rent,” said Preston. “And those are the folks who are most at risk here. We want to make it clear for these landlords that they can’t use this as an excuse [to evict.]”

California law is especially unforgiving when it comes to non-payment of rent, Preston said, allowing landlords to serve a three-day “pay or quit” notice. After the notice is posted, “if the tenant doesn’t pay in 3 days, the landlord can evict them, even if they come up with the money later,” Preston said.

Help or False Hope?

“HUD has been in contact with every Public Housing Agency in the country to ensure the millions of low-income Americans we serve continue to have a roof over their head,” Carson said.

The rules are in contrast to comments made by Trump this week, who said renters would get “immediate relief” as part of his administration’s plan….

Applications for jobless benefits surge in some states as coronavirus concerns shake U.S. economy

States aren’t really recession-ready, because it’s so hard for people to get benefits, stay in the program, and the benefits are insufficient,” said Michele Evermore…advocates for low-wage workers and the unemployed.

Jobless claims and unemployment also are rising around the globe. The U.N.’s International Labor Organization estimates that fallout from the coronavirus outbreak could lead to nearly 25 million job losses worldwide and drain up to $3.4 trillion worth of income by the end of this year.

In the U.S., state unemployment trust funds generally are in better financial shape than they were before the last recession. Yet 21 states began the year with less than the amount recommended to remain solvent in an average recession, according to a U.S. Department of Labor re


Below is an example from the local website of Johnson County, Iowa that I would look at as I live in my home state of Iowa now.

I suggest you do a SEARCH for PUBLIC Health/ your county/ you state.

Hopefully your state adn county webiste has been updated with COVID-19 information.

 Coronavirus Resources

For current Coronavirus information, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website at

For questions regarding local response, contact Johnson County Public Health by calling 319-356-6040 or email

A hotline has been established at the Iowa Department of Public Health:

See the City’s resource page at for more information.

Hydrant flushing
Landfill closing
Leaf vacuum program
Parks and Recreation
Road closure
Road construction
Sidewalk snow removal
Snow plowing
Solid waste
Transit service
Water main break

ADA Guidelines for Apartments

  • An apartment complex will have different obligations then the owner of a rented house.
  • A landlord is not required to mind read how to accommodate everyone. You have to ask in writing.
  • Even better get a doctor to note to validate the need for the request.

Sometimes, what you need is not a reasonably affordable request.

People with disabilities may need to move to a more accomodating home.

Click and read the links below for what the ADA says about reasonable accommodations in an apartment building.

..and if you need a wheelchair ramp built…who will pay for it?

Don’t expect any landlord to be singing Halleluia about paying out maybe $2,000 for a cement ramp to the entrance of an apartment complex built in 1940 just because you want it

The management may like you, personally and really want you as a resident. But, unless they plan on renting to a whole community who needs a ramp it is not cost-effective for them…not personal…not discrimination, either… it is simply NOT REASONABLE!

Please don’t go whining to the NEWS how unfair it is until you have read the ADA laws.

(Note: there may be local grants to apply for.)

…In rental dwellings, ADA guidelines for apartment complexes differ based on the community’s date of construction. Apartments built before ADA rules took effect fall under slightly different guidelines than do those built after the regulations were created….

…Disabled tenants can also request landlords to make changes to rules or policies to accommodate their disabilities. Accommodations include moving disabled tenants to the top of the waiting list for easier-to-access apartments….

,,, sidewalks need to be ADA compliant, as do doors and entryways, hallways and exterior and interior areas used by the public. Ramps, elevators and other possibly difficult or financially significant installations for disabled residents to access their apartments isn’t usually mandatory under ADA

Money, Money, Money

*Trump’s right: 

Trump’s right: Congress should give Americans $1,000 right now to fight the coronavirus recession

The Conversation via Yahoo News· 1 day ago

As a macroeconomist specializing in income inequality, I know direct payments are just what low-wage…

Steven Pressman, Professor of Economics, Colorado State University

The Conversation

Much of the U.S. economy has effectively shut down as America increasingly takes the coronavirus pandemic seriously…

Click HERE to read full article:

…necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, this will have grave consequences for the economy as well as for the tens of millions of workers who depend on hourly wages to buy food, medicine and put a roof over their heads.

…Trump administration … asking Congress to pass an US$850 billion stimulus package, including sending $1,000 checks directly to all adult Americans. Some lawmakers are pushing for larger payments and over several months.

Low-income Americans are hit hardest

Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, this is an economic crisis hitting working-class and low-income Americans hardest.

Professional, salaried workers are able to work from home. They will continue to get regular paychecks and be in a good position to weather the economic storm created by the coronavirus. Professionals who lose some income likely have some savings to rely on until the economy recovers.

…waiters, retail clerks, hospitality industry employees and other hourly workers who make up nearly 60% of the U.S. labor force will be without work for an indefinite amount of time and rely on an unemployment insurance program that is far too stingy.

A vital injection

A check in the mail is so very vital right now, but it’s not enough.

The U.S. should also expand unemployment benefits and other social insurance programsSmall businesses …will need more support so that they can survive. And some industries, like airlines, may need a bailout.

*Emergency Stimulus 

*Grace Segers and Stefan Becket

CBS News

Washington — … introduced emergency stimulus legislation to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, the third phase of the legislative response to the pandemic…

The “phase three” bill unveiled by Senate Republicans on Thursday includes rebates of $1,200 for most individuals who reported less than $75,000 on their 2018 tax returns, or $2,400 per couple who filed their taxes jointly and made less than $150,000. 

Another $500 would be added for every dependent child. Low-income Americans with at least $2,500 of qualified income get a smaller benefit of $600, or $1,200 for couples.

The payments would be gradually phased out for individuals with income between $75,000 and $99,000, at which point payments cut off.

Opinion: Giving everyone a $1,000 check will help the coronavirus downturn. But it’s not enough

by Jon Healey

Los Angeles Times Opinion

As for whether one injection of cash will be sufficient, the answer is probably not, for at least two reasons.

… the coronavirus…the end of the crisis will allow for a speedy resumption… no one knows how long the disruption will last…

…two rounds of checks, and why others…have proposed tying future rounds of aid to specific triggers, such as elevated unemployment.

…the cash individuals receive won’t help many of the small and mid-sized businesses that are struggling today because it won’t reach them….some type of aid is needed to help businesses endure the virus, possibly by extending them low-interest loans.

Mnuchin’s plan also includes $300 billion worth of loans to small businesses and a delay in the April 15 due date for income tax payments.

More Articles

. Accessible apartments are far less common than traditional apartments, so disabled renters have fewer choices on accommodations that suit their special needs.

Who will do Maintenance on the property you rent?

Know the answers BEFORE you sign the lease.

  • Who will shovel snow?
  • Who will replace light bulbs in the common hallway?
  • Who to call in a maintenance emergency?

If the management fails on their part to meet a certain standard you should have some legal recourse.

( Another section) On the other hand, if YOU fail, the landlord has legal rights as well no matter if you are disabled or not.

The link below gives you a basic guideline checklist.

Apartment Maintenance Checklist

Proper apartment maintenance prevents unnecessary expenses for apartment leasing companies and property tenants.

Leak in the ceiling near an electrical light should be repaired asap by apartment maintenance. But what if the repair is not made? #renter #landlordissues #disabledrenter

What if your landlord fails in their obligation to keep things fixed for safety and sanitation?

No matter who you are or where you live a lease is a legal and binding contract. You sign a contract agreeing to x amount of pay to rent on the owner’s property for a place to live by a certain day of each month. Both parties have a legal obligation to do what they promised to do on that lease.

If you mess up, the landlord can give you a 3-day notice to quit simply meaning you have 3 days to fix the problem of they take further legal action against you.

  • Ignorance of the rules is NO EXCUSE.
  • Screaming and yelling at the office manager is always a NO-NO!
  • Playing the BOO HOO I’m DISABLED CARD and threaten to sue or call your Mafia cousins does cut it either. If you can not uphold your obligations as Tennant, I encourage you to accept the fact that you may need to make other living arrangements or get proper help. (read suggestion below)
  • On the other side of the rental fence, the landlord has a responsibility to provide a safe building you pay rent to live in.

YES, state your concerns in writing, but be sure our complaints are honest and communicate civilly and appropriately.

If you need help and have a social worker you may ask them who can help you fill out forms. Some of my neighbors have asked their local church group to volunteer a few hours to take photos to your records and deliver a maintenance request for you to document/ witness all concerns.

No support system?

Call your county’s 411 or local library. They have books of community resources and will look them up for you if needed.

What IF my landlord doesn’t fix when they should?

Related Articles from SFGATE

Who to Tell When Someone Done Somebody Wrong?

The United States Department of Justice

Disability Rights Section

The Disability Rights Section works to achieve equal opportunity for people with disabilities in the United States by implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). … The Section’s enforcement, certification, regulatory, coordination, and technical assistance activities, required by the ADA, combined with an innovative mediation program and a technical assistance grant program, provide a cost-effective and dynamic approach for carrying out the ADA’s mandates.

CONTACT information on this page

 Need to File a Discrimination Complaint Against DOJ Employee or Organization?

What if you still want to rent but the landlord tells you that you need to get someone to help you keep your apartment cleaner?

You may qualify for some help to come in to do your dishes, carry out the trash and help you shower.

Home & Community-Based Services 1915 (c) Medicaid

States can offer a variety of unlimited services under an HCBS Waiver program. Programs can provide a combination of standard medical services and non-medical services.

Sample Application Form for the HCBS waiver is 125 page pdf if you care to read it in details.

  • For those who want to continue living in their own home, but need help with grocery shopping; housekeeping, personal and some medical care and qualify for MEDICAID, click the link right above to get started to learn what programs are in your state.

On a personal note: my son and I live in Colorado. He qualifies for the *CDASS program because he is eligible to get Medicaid. The acronyms will vary from state to state. The caseworkers who handle Food Stamps or Medicaid applications should be able to direct you to the Medicaid program in your state.

*Client Directed Care where the disabled can hire and fire their own caregivers. The care-givers are paid under this Medicaid program provided the tasks and employees meet all guidelines to qualify. I get some financial compensation for caring for my son, along with help from those who come in for a few hours outside. The income I get helps me to pay some of our rent for a wheelchair accessible safe place to live…not cheap when we together don’t qualify for rental assistance. Locating an affordable wheelchair accessible home to rent near medical care is not easy in mountainous Colorado where my son and I were living.


We have a courtyard and a small patio for David and Amber his Service-Dog-in-Training. Meet our new neighbors included educating and setting boundaries taht Amber is not a pet to play with. It takes extra work for Amber to learn how to navigate around a power wheelchair safely. First, she must bond and build trust with her owner and IGNORE every one else.

When I go on local groups on Facebook I often find people complaining about their landlord won’t let them have their service animal.

I will copy and paste a few links to either help them or chew them out for trying to fake a service dog. I know that too many people think they can put a vest on a beloved pet or guard dog and try to claim it is a service dog they don’t have to pay pet deposits. Then they get mad at the landlord for giving them 3 days’ notice to quit because the dog is tied up on the balcony and barking 24/7.

I have previously published my own opinions and photos of my son’s service dog on this blog along with tips, and informative official links The clickable links to my service dog posts are below. BUT…my opinion is not the final legal ruling, so I added the link right below for the OFFICIAL FINAL RULINGS on SERVICE ANIMALS.

BTW; A service Animal is limited to a dog or small horse who is specifically trained to do related tasks for a person with a disability.

regulations governing the requirements for pet ownership in HUD-assisted public housing and multifamily housing projects for the elderly and persons with

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

When living with a disability and looking for housing a number of accommodations must be considered before signing a lease-beside “is there a grab bar in the bathtub?”

For my son who depends on a wheelchair for mobility, we have to consider if he can access public transportation that a large wheelchair can get on and off or we look elsewhere to live before we sign a lease. It would not be reasonable to move a wheelchair hair dependant adult into an apartment then complain to the city that there is no way to get him to the doctor so they had better make a city bus route in front of our door. You SHOULD have checked out transportation beforehand.

( Why don’t I get a wheelchair van for my son? I don’t see well enough to drive anymore…I can;t pass a vision test. We use various form of public transportation including a wheelchair accessible taxi)

Personal Example: Until he was about 30 my son, was capable of walking. But after he was diagnosed with MS he suddenly lost the use of his legs and his vision. This would be a valid medical reason to request to legally break the lease if he were on the 5th floor and there was no elevator- as an example.

(Get the advice of a lawyer and a note from your doctor and most landlords don’t raise a stink. If they do, they may be breaking the law.)

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Coordination and Review Section

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities that are like those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.

Facts About the Americans with Disabilities Act

This section applies to employment and work sites for persons with disabilities, not housing, but I think it is well worth the read.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities….

Know When to Get Legal Advice

Many cities have FREE legal centers for those who are of low income. If you don’t qualify, those centers often will refer you to other legal resources. it won’t hurt to call and ask.

To find the free or very affordable legal help you can call 411 or your local library.


consider a pre-paid legal membership as I have. ( Not meant to be an advertisement. Just an idea.)

Legal Shield

Personally, my son and I are Legal Shield members who have used our benefits to call attorneys at Legal Shield to ask if we had reasons to complain or not or various issues. In the past, as an example, I read and re-read our lease, when we have neighbors who played loud music at 3 am and dropped little plastic baggies from the upstairs windows to people who were texting cell phones inches away from my window. ( Notify management…no appropriate action by management.)

Then I Google and read some more just to reaffirm my right to PEACEFUL HABITATION or “Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment”.

Before we moved this year to a safer place I had concerns about missing fire extinguishers; emergency lights in the halls that had not worked in 2 years; the exit signs had no lights; the door to the outside that was the ONLY wheelchair exit was often so broken he could not open it…my safety violation list is very long before I even got started on ADA violations. My request for a safety rail as a reasonable accommodation for myself -as well as everyone else who had to use an alternate exit, was denied out of retaliation for me calling CODE enforcement over the above safety issues. Retaliation is against the law.

I already know when my landlord needs to get a move on to fix a problem before I call an attorney. I call for help to DOCUMENT

( Documenting is often something many renters fail to do, but should). Because I know when to call for legal advice and I’m a Legal Shield member one of the attorneys has written a more than a few strongly worded letters that helped us to legally break a lease or two. These strongly worded letters are sent Registered/ Return Receipt mail/ they have to sing for the letter.

I highly recommend everyone having an affordable  Legal Shield membership or another pre-paid legal plan of your choice. I have benefited from my membership.

No Non-cents Nanna is NOT a lawyer. This post is for entertaining reference only- NOT legal advice.

We are all in this together. 

Quick Reference ONLY for accurate information on COVID-19 Global Pandemic that will affect income and ability to pay rent for persons with or without disabilities.

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic is a pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December 2019.

  •  Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19)
  •  Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
  •  December 1, 2019
  •  Wuhan, Hubei, China
  •  Initial flu-like symptoms, such as fever, coughing, breathing difficulties, fatigue, and myalgia
  •  1-14 days
  •  Human-to-human transmission via respiratory droplets
  •  Avoiding close contact with sick individuals; frequently washing hands with soap and water; not touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; and practicing good respiratory hygiene

When is a Dog a Service Dog OR an Excuse?

Before You Buy the Take Your Dog Anywhere Card Read this First

Preparing for Public Debute: Amber Service-Dog-in-Training

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