Are Tenants with Disabilities Protected from Eviction?
The eviction process is a tricky one for landlords, particularly when the tenants involved have specific circumstances that may grant them legal protection. One protected demographic is tenants with disabilities.
So, does someone with a disability get eviction protection? Here are the basics to understanding the rights of tenants with disabilities.
What Legally Qualifies as a Disability?
Before you can really dive into whether an individual will receive eviction protection for a disability, it is important to first understand what qualifies as a disability. This will serve as the foundation for how you can expect to proceed.
According to the Social Security Administration, adult children with special needs are described as individuals with a “disabling impairment [that] must have started before age 22.” The Americans With Disabilities Act further describes disabilities as physical/mental ailments that drastically inhibit/alter aspects of a person’s life or bodily functions.
That said, the lines between what is or is not a disability can feel a little blurry. A full list of qualifying disabilities can be found here.
Fair housing is more than a courtesy; it is a legal requirement. Disabilities are on the list of traits federally protected from discrimination.
The Fair Housing Act is the biggest factor in eviction law regarding disabled tenants as it directly prohibits discrimination in sales or rentals of housing. Since this makes it illegal to discriminate in the rental of a unit due to a person’s handicap, that handicap can not be a driving factor in the reason for eviction.
On the state level in Florida, it is required of landlords to make reasonable accommodations for their disabled tenants. Basically, landlords cannot evict tenants based solely on their disability (or direct consequences of that disability). This does not excuse them, however, from eviction due to missed/late rental payments or breaking other clearly laid out leasing agreements.
This brings us to our ultimate question: does someone with a disability get eviction protection?
The ultimate answer is that yes, individuals with disability do receive a degree of protection from eviction. That said, it is not blanket protection from any cause of eviction. The law requires landlords to give accommodations that prevent eviction when it is deemed appropriate. This means that tenants can ask landlords to stop eviction in the case of needing medical treatment or having cause related to their disability.
It can be challenging to keep up with the legal side of property ownership. Make sure you know your rights and protect your assets by contacting Onyx Group Legal today for a free consultation. Our team has the necessary knowledge to advise you and help ensure you are adequately protecting your rights as a landlord.