4 Tips for Finding Accessible, Affordable Living Space
Image via Pixabay by stevepb
Though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) are in place to make sure people with disabilities have equal access in public and at home, people with disabilities still run into frequent problems when looking for a place to live. For example, in 2014, the National Fair Housing Alliance reported that 48 percent of the complaints it received were from people with disabilities.
Fortunately, there are steps people with disabilities can take to fight housing discrimination. Here are a few:
Know your rights as a homebuyer
There are many laws in place to protect people with disabilities and government organizations to regulate those laws. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to have a working knowledge of the rights those laws provide you. For example, as this home buying guide for people with disabilities points out, a credit lender cannot deny a request for credit based on your disability status. It also notes that the FHA prohibits sellers from refusing to sell or negotiate and lying about available housing. Review the laws and regulations set up to protect you. They are your best defense when you feel you’re experiencing discrimination.
Find out as much as possible from potential landlords.
If you’re searching for an apartment or other rental property, don’t hesitate to ask the landlord as many questions as possible to ensure the property is fully accessible for you. This article with information for apartment hunters with disabilities suggests a few key questions. For example, “Are the doors at least 32 inches wide?” “Are handles in place on any ramps?” and “Are light switches and thermostats easy enough to reach?”
Check to see if you quality for housing assistance.
Many people with disabilities are on a fixed income, which can make making monthly rent or mortgage payments difficult. Fortunately, there are organizations in place that can provide assistance. Disability.gov offers an overview of those programs. For example, you may be able to obtain Housing Choice Vouchers from your local Public Housing Agency or HUD Office. In addition to the assistance programs offered by government organizations, the site notes that some nonprofits, including religion-based charities, offer housing help to people with disabilities.
If you decide to modify…know the costs.
If you’ve recently purchased a home or are considering purchasing a home that will require modifications to make it more accessible for you, be sure you have a good idea of how much those changes will cost. This article on accessibility accommodations provides information on how much certain modifications, such as ramps and changes to stairways, kitchens and bathrooms, could set you back. For example, it estimates that most homeowners spend between $833 and $2261 to install a ramp.
People with disabilities have a right to safe, affordable housing. Don’t let anyone deny you this access. When you are armed with the information you need to protect yourself, you can more easily avoid being denied these essential rights.
Patricia Sarmiento loves swimming and running. She channels her love of fitness and wellness into blogging about health and health-related topics. She played sports in high school and college and continues to make living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shih tzu in Maryland.