Guidelines for Writing a Reasonable Accommodation Request

Suggested procedures:

1. Indicate that you qualify as a person with a disability as defined by civil rights laws.  It is not necessary to reveal the nature or severity of your disability, unless you feel comfortable in doing so.

"I qualify as an individual with a disability as defined by the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988."

2. State where you live and who is responsible for the building.

"I live at 805 W. Green Street, Apartment #2A.  This building is managed by John Doe and owned by you, Jane Smith."

3. Describe the policy, rule, or architectural barrier that is problematic to you.

"There is not any reserved accessible parking in our building's parking lot."

4. Describe how this policy or barrier interferes with your needs, rights, or enjoyment of your housing.

"I am unable to park in regular sized parking places because I need additional space to transfer from my car into a wheelchair."

5. In clear and concise language, describe the change you are seeking in the policy, rule or barrier.

"I am requesting that you designate a reserved parking space for disabled persons next to the curb cut on the west side of the parking lot."

6. Cite the applicable law which protects your rights.  For accommodations, use:

"Under the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments Sec. 804 (42 U.S.C. 3604) (f) (3) (B), it is unlawful discrimination for a management company to deny a person with a disability 'a reasonable accommodation of building rules or policies if such accommodation may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises.."

For modifications, quote the law as follows:

"Under the FHAA, Sec. 804 (42 U.S.C. 3604) (f) (3) (B), it is unlawful discrimination for a management company to deny a person with a disability 'a reasonable modification of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modification may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises."

7. Ask for a written response within a certain amount of time.

"Please respond in writing to my request within 10 days."

8. Sign and date the request.  Remember to keep a copy of your request for your files.

9. If the request is denied, contact an advocate to determine if your rights have been violated.  A list of fair housing advocacy groups broken down by state is available here.

Sample Request for Reasonable Accommodation:

May 17, 1999

Danny Thomas, Building Manager
123 N. Maple
Chicago, IL 60657

Dear Mr. Thomas:

I, Jim Smith, qualify as a person with a disability as defined by the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988.  I live at 123 N. Maple in unit #205.

Our building's rules state a "no pets" policy.  Because of my disability, a doctor has prescribed a service animal to assist with my daily living.

I am requesting that you make a reasonable accommodation in the building's rules to permit me to have a service animal.

Under the Fair Housing Act Amendments, it is unlawful discrimination for a management company to deny a person with a disability "a reasonable accommodation of an existing building rule or policy if such accommodation may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises."

Please respond in writing to my request for a reasonable accommodation within ten days.   I look forward to your response and appreciate your attention to this critical matter.

Sincerely,
Jim Smith