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I have a tenant who has just become physically disabled. He…

I have a tenant...

I have a tenant who has just become physically disabled. He is renting a room in my home which has access to the street through 15 stairs or if he goes through my home, six stairs. He lost his leg due to his refusal to medicate and care for his diabetes. He's been a tenant for the past four years and has had foot issues, but denied having diabetes. On the 14th of February, he was rushed to the hospital by another tenant as he had passed out on the bathroom floor in his room. I want to know what my obligation is to such a tenant and what are my legal options. I suffer with anxiety and just the knowledge that this tenant refused to address his health concerns me greatly.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

California

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

He is being released from the hospital in a few days. I want to amend his rental agreement to address this new situation and how it affects my home and family, but I don't know what to write.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Just what my options/obligations are as landlord regarding this issue.

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/9/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13,377
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I understand. I'm just looking for some guidance.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I'd rather text please.
.

Oh, that’s not a problem with the phone call. The system automatically asks if you want one, but there is no problem declining the request. One moment while I review your situation.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you.

I'm really sorry to hear about you and your roommate's situation. Generally, a landlord has to make sure that their place is habitable and to ensure there are no unreasonable barriers for a disabled tenant. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that new construction and elements of buildings altered after January 26, 1992, must comply with ADA standards to the maximum extent feasible. If your place was built after that time, then you would need to have it reconfigured to be ADA compliant.

If it was built before that time, it doesn't need to be.

When was the home built?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
1926

I see. If this is the case, you don't have to totally renovate the entirely place. The ADA only requires that even for existing facilities, landlords and property owners must remove “architectural and communication barriers” that are structural in nature when it is “readily achievable” to do so. All this really means is that if you need to put in some ramps, widen doorways, or otherwise remove the barriers that would make it unreasonable for him to live there, then you'll be in compliance with the ADA. Because I haven't seen your house, i can't tell you for sure how to make that work, but speak with your tenant and find out maybe what they need so you can reduce the barriers to him accessing the place.

How else can I help you today?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
That kind of reconfiguration would be very costly for me and would ruin the original structure of the main house. I sincerely don't want to go through that kind of restructuring for one person. Do I have any other legal option?

I understand. So, practically speaking, you probably won't need to reconfigure the entire house. For you to get into any trouble, he would have to file a complaint with HUD or your local state agency with complaints. I think the best thing that you can do and what you should do is find out what he needs. For instance, if he could just a simple railing across the walls to stay upright, if he needs a seat in the bath tub, or if he just needs to have something moved to help himself out a bit more, you'll be fulfilling your obligation.

How else can I help you today?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I appreciate this very much. I feel though that this is taking me out of my landlord status and placing me into a quasi-nursemaid situation. I will, however, talk with him and do my best to preserve my home and my sanity. Thank you for your guidance and assistance. LM Lopez

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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