Who Pays for Home Modifications?

Q: Does my landlord have to pay for modifications if they are needed for my disability? 

A: Maybe. It depends on the circumstances and it depends if your building receives any federal funds.

Not Federally Funded:

This includes most private landlords, nonprofits agencies, and any other building or program that doesn’t receive any federal funds. It also includes most places you rent using a Housing Voucher (unless the building receives other federal funds besides the voucher)

In most cases, these landlords don’t have to pay to make expensive modifications. If there is a cost, you may need to offer to pay or find other funding.

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if your building receives any federal funds, so it doesn’t hurt to make the request and see what happens. You can also consult with local legal aide and tenant’s rights groups to learn the laws in your area.

Federally Funded:

This includes housing authorities, housing commissions, and most types of USDA or rural rental assistance. It also includes private landlords that have apartments directly subsidized by HUD, and any other building that receives federal funds.

They are responsible for covering the cost, within reason. However, if you request something expensive, it’s possible they might not approve it or might propose a less expensive solution. So far, we have not heard from any readers who were turned down for an accommodation for this reason.  If you run into problems, you might try contacting your regional HUD office and asking them to review the decision to determine if it truly presents an undue financial burden.