Tips for Requesting an Accommodation or Modification

Under fair housing laws, someone with a disability is allowed to request accommodations to rules, policies and practices in housing or housing related transaction. If the requested accommodation is reasonable, a landlord or other covered housing provider would have to permit the accommodation. For example, a “no pets” community couldn’t refuse housing or charge extra fees for someone simply because they have an assistance animal.

Similarly, if someone with a disability needs to make reasonable modifications to fully use and enjoy housing, it would be unlawful for the homeowner, homeowners association, local government or other covered housing provider to refuse to allow the modification.

When requesting an accommodation or modification from a landlord or other covered housing provider, indicate that you qualify as a person with a disability as defined by civil rights laws. It isn’t necessary to reveal the nature or severity of your disability, unless you feel comfortable doing so. The Housing Equality Center recommends that you put the request in writing and keep a copy for your records. The letter should:

  • State where you live and who is responsible for the building, community, housing, etc.
  • Describe the policy, rule, or architectural barrier that is problematic to you.
  • Describe how this policy or barrier interferes with your needs, rights, or enjoyment of your housing.
  • In clear and concise language, describe the change you are seeking in the policy, rule or barrier.
  • Cite the applicable law that protects your rights.
    • For Accommodations (changes to rules, policies, practices) use: Fair Housing Act Amendments Sec. 804 (42 U.S.C. 3604)(f)(3)(B)
    • For Modifications (physical or structural changes to housing) use: Fair Housing Act Amendments, Sec. 804 (42 U.S.C. 3604)(f)(3)(A)
  • Ask for a written response within a certain amount of time.
  • Sign and date the request.

If the request is denied or you do not receive a timely response, contact the Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania at 267-419-8918 or for help. If you have questions about the above information or need assistance with requesting an accommodation or modification in PA, contact us.