The process of finding an accessible apartment can be challenging; but knowing what features to look for, where to look, what to expect during the application process, rights and restrictions that might be encountered, and questions to ask can make the process easier. Here are some tips from our personal experiences to help in the apartment hunt.
Before looking for an accessible apartment, make a list of features that are important to have in the apartment. Include the outdoor access and other building amenities. Use online filters to put the city, rent prices, number of bedrooms, and to get more specific for filtering options. Real estate sites have listings that offer access to information about the properties, such as amenities, description, photos, floor plan, and virtual tours.
These are all helpful when looking for accessibility features. We always recommend arranging a tour of the apartment whether it would be in person or via video and ask lots of questions to see if that building and apartment would work. Bring a tape measure and the list of features when touring the building and the apartment. Go through your list and see how many of your features the place offers. Always look at the neighborhood for accessibility and fun things to do, places to eat, etc. Next is to prepare to apply for the accessible apartment. Make sure to have all the necessary documents needed when going to apply, such as proof of income, contact information, etc.
Before signing a contract, it is important to know your rights. The leasing agent or property manager cannot refuse to negotiate, or not rent out an accessible apartment. If the chosen property doesn’t offer the accessibility modifications, then the tenant has the right to negotiate with the property manager to make the necessary changes. After going through all the steps, it may seem more involved for people who need accessibility accommodations. Work with your leasing agents, real estate agents and property managers to inform all parties involved on the Americans with Disabilities Act and know the housing rights.
Accessible apartments do exist and there are resources to help move into an apartment with the modifications needed. Sometimes the process can feel overwhelming and I hope this is helpful to those who are looking for an accessible apartment. For more information on the Fair Housing Act, Click Here!