Elevator Failure with Disabled Tenants

Federal and state fair-housing laws prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. A disability is any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, walking, seeing, hearing, etc. One form of housing discrimination is the failure to make reasonable accommodations or modifications that may be needed in order to afford a disabled person equal access, use, and benefit of a rental unit. A modification is a change to the physical structure of the unit – for example, widening of a doorway or installation of a wheelchair ramp. An accommodation is a change or exception to a policy or rule – for example, allowing a service animal as an exception to a no-pets policy. A landlord must make a reasonable accommodation when needed and requested by a tenant, and a landlord must allow a tenant to make a reasonable modification, usually at the tenant’s own expense.

In the event that an elevator fails on the property of a disabled tenant, this information will apply. For purposes of this policy, a disabled tenant or guest is one who cannot safely use the stairs as an alternative to the elevator. We will reasonably accommodate a disabled tenant or guest in the event of an elevator failure that causes the tenant or guest to be stuck, unable to get from the ground floor up to his/her unit on a higher floor, or unable to get from his/her unit on a higher floor down to the ground floor. Each of the accommodations set out in this memorandum will be provided at our expense, not the disabled tenant’s or guest’s expense, unless the elevator failure is intentionally caused by the disabled tenant or guest.

Policy:

In the event of a elevator failure that causes a disabled tenant or guest to be stuck in the elevator, staff will promptly call 9-1-1 to report the situation and request assistance. Then call the elevator repair company and ask them when they can come out to make the repairs. If the Elevator cannot be made to arrive at the tenant’s or guest’s destination floor, then staff will call an ambulance at to request transportation of the tenant or guest to his/her destination floor by way of the stairs. Staff will also call the elevator service company, name of company, at phone number to request inspection and any needed repairs.

In the event of a elevator failure that causes a disabled tenant or guest to be stuck on the ground floor (unable to access his/her unit on a higher floor) or stuck on a higher floor (unable to get down to the ground floor), staff will promptly call Ambulance to request transportation of the tenant or guest to his/her destination floor by way of the stairs. Staff will also call the Elevator service company to request inspection and any needed repairs.

If the Elevator failure continues for more than 12 hours and is not expected to be corrected within 24 hours, then (my company) will pay up to $120.00 per night for temporary alternative housing for the disabled tenant in the form of a hotel room of the disabled tenant’s choosing. Upon presentation of evidence of the actual cost incurred by the disabled tenant for the hotel room, the hotel will reimburse the disabled tenant for that actual cost, up to a maximum of $120.00 per night. Alternatively, if requested by the disabled tenant.

The elevator company may make payment directly to the hotel owner for the room chosen by the disabled tenant if it is no more than $120.00 per night. Payment for a hotel room will continue until the elevator has been repaired, and such payment will end 24 hours after the disabled tenant has been notified of the repair of the elevator.

If the Elevator failure is not expected to be corrected within five (5) days, or if it remains uncorrected after five (5) days of the hotel or the company paying for a hotel room pursuant to the provisions above, then the owner will contact the affected disabled tenant to discuss and agree on other temporary alternative housing arrangements. Examples of alternatives include, but are not limited to, abatement of rent while the disabled tenant temporarily stays with a friend or family member, or temporary placement of the disabled tenant in another unit that the same owner owns or manages. The appropriate alternative(s) will depend on the specific circumstances, including the status of the elevator and the expected date of repair, the needs of the disabled tenant, and the resources available to the disabled tenant.

In the event a disabled tenant or guest requests, or staff believes a disabled tenant or guest needs, accommodation(s) different from or in addition to the accommodations set out above, staff will promptly seek approval from a manager, who will grant or deny approval or suggest an alternative accommodation, after promptly considering the particular disabled tenant’s or guest’s circumstances, this policy, and advice from the company’s executives or attorney, if needed.

Exclusions:

This policy does not apply in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster triggering official evacuation orders for one or more of the properties listed above. Owner is not responsible for taking the steps set out above for tenants who have remained at one of the properties listed above after being ordered by local officials to evacuate.

Fighting for Your Rights Since 1999

David S. Cronin

For the past two decades, David S. Cronin has been a conscientious and caring attorney. He truly believes in doing what is right for his clients. David handles criminal defense matters, personal injury cases for plaintiffs along with fair housing violations and landlord evictions.

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