In Northern California, we have a very old house that we rent out on a month to month agreement. There are two current tenants. One is leaving, but the other wants to stay and bring in a new roommate. This new person is disabled and uses a wheel chair. His only source of income is from State Disablity.
The house is not set up at all for a disabled person. It has several steps leading to the house. The tenants have already informed us that they want a ramp leading up to the door. We are willing to put in a ramp, but where does it stop? What will he want altered next?
Since we have not officially approved the new tenant, can we still decide not to rent to the new tenant? Would that be discrimination? We asked to do a credit check on him, and have not yet received his application. I feel like we are being put into a position that we have to rent to this person and make the alterations just because he is disabled. Can we make a special agreement stating that we agree to the ramp, but no other alterations to the premises will be allowed?
FYI, I have read section 54.1, but would like some extra input.
(2) "Housing accommodations" means any real property, or portion
thereof, that is used or occupied, or is intended, arranged, or
designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence, or sleeping
place of one or more human beings, but shall not include any
accommodations included within subdivision (a) or any single-family
residence the occupants of which rent, lease, or furnish for
compensation not more than one room therein.
(3) (A) Any person renting, leasing, or otherwise providing real
property for compensation shall not refuse to permit an individual
with a disability, at that person's expense, to make reasonable
modifications of the existing rented premises if the modifications
are necessary to afford the person full enjoyment of the premises.
However, any modifications under this paragraph may be conditioned on
the disabled tenant entering into an agreement to restore the
interior of the premises to the condition existing prior to the
modifications. No additional security may be required on account of
an election to make modifications to the rented premises under this
paragraph, but the lessor and tenant may negotiate, as part of the
agreement to restore the premises, a provision requiring the disabled
tenant to pay an amount into an escrow account, not to exceed a
reasonable estimate of the cost of restoring the premises.
(B) Any person renting, leasing, or otherwise providing real
property for compensation shall not refuse to make reasonable
accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when those
accommodations may be necessary to afford individuals with a
disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy the premises.