How to Request an Additional Bedroom (Housing Vouchers & HUD Apartments)

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“When I asked verbally about a separate bedroom for my son, they told me there was no funding and it was not possible, but I applied anyway with letters from myself and my son’s doctor. I got the notice in the mail today, and I thought for sure it would be a denial, but then I read it. It was approved. I’m so happy.” – Margaret Irwin

“My mom had a near-fatal car accident. When she returned from the rehab facility, her doctor wrote a letter and she was granted an additional bedroom for her physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other equipment for training and conditioning.”  – Bougainvillea


Disability Accommodations for Additional Bedrooms

If someone in your household is disabled and has a disability need for an additional room, you can request a larger voucher, or a larger apartment. Five common requests:

Private Bedroom  – A disabled person is sharing a room and needs their own bedroom because of their disability. This request can be made for a child or an adult. Sample Letters for Separate Bedrooms

Medical Equipment – Additional room needed for the storage and use of medical equipment and supplies. Sample Letters for Rooms for Equipment 

Home Therapies – Additional room needed for in-home physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other therapies. Sample Letters for Rooms for Therapies

Live in Aide – If you are approved for a live-in aide, most housing programs will automatically grant you an additional bedroom. Information on Requesting Live-in Aides

Other Disability Needs – There are no specific rules or restrictions on why you can or can’t ask for a bedroom. If your doctor feels it is medically-necessary for your disability needs, you can request it. For example: Some of our readers have been approved for bedrooms for off-gassing items when needed for Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Sample letters for Requesting Additional Rooms


Other Ways to Change Bedroom Size

Sometimes you don’t need to make an accommodation request. Here’s a few other ways your bedroom size can go up:

Change your location or household: Your number of bedrooms can change from moving to a new area; Changing buildings in the same area; Or adding a household member; Learn more about How Bedroom Policies Work

Find a good deal: If you have a voucher, and you find a place within your voucher price range, and this place just happens to have and extra bedroom, you’re in luck. Most housing authorities will let you just rent it without needing to make any special requests!


What Happens if Your Request is Approved

If you have a voucher, your voucher goes up. For example, a voucher of $1,000 for a one bedroom might increase to a voucher of $1,200 for a two bedroom. You will not pay more! How Much Will My Voucher Raise?

If you don’t have a voucher but live in a HUD-subsidized apartment, you can request to transfer to a different apartment in the building with more bedrooms (assuming this exists) or to a different building owned by the same landlord. Again, you will not pay more. 

Warning: If your apartment is not subsidized by HUD and you do not have a voucher… this accommodation may not help you. You will be able to switch apartments, but your rent might go up. For example, an apartment in a low income tax credit building… these apartments receive some funding, but most of them do not have HUD subsidies, so…. when you switch apartments, your rent raises.


Will My Share of the Rent Change?

If you have a housing voucher or live in HUD housing, in most situations, your share of the rent will not change. The amount the landlord receives will go up, though. If I Get an Additional Bedroom, Will My Rent Go Up?

If you have a housing voucher, and you are already living in an apartment with too many bedrooms, your share of rent may even go down!


Troubleshooting: Sleeping in Living Room

Some reader’s report that their disability accommodation requests were denied because the housing program decided that one person could sleep in the living room, eliminating the need for an additional bedroom. More about how to address this situation is on this page: Reasonable Accommodations & Sleeping in Living Room


Troubleshooting: Switching Rooms

Another reason a request can be denied is because the housing program decided that other people in the family can switch rooms and become roommates. It will depend on your Housing Authorities bedroom policy: How Bedroom Policies Work.


Use of Bedroom

After you make the request, they may visit your apartment to confirm if the extra space is needed (For example, if you request a room for medical equipment, they may look at or photograph the medical equipment to see if it can fit in closets or elsewhere).

After you are approved, there may be an annual inspection to confirm that you are properly using the bedroom for the reason listed on your accommodation.


What if My Building Doesn’t Have Any Larger Apartments Open?

If you have a voucher, you can request from your landlord to transfer to a different apartment in the same building. Or you can move anywhere else you wish that will take your voucher. In some cases, you may have to wait until your lease ends, or request an accommodation from the landlord to end lease early.

If you live in a subsidized building, you can request a transfer to any other apartment in that building, or to any other property owned by that landlord. (If your building is owned by a housing authority, then any other property they own).

If there is a wait list for a larger apartment, you can request a reasonable accommodation for a transfer and bypass the wait list. (You can request to bypass others on the wait list, but if someone else already living in the building also requested a disability accommodation to transfer apartments, you won’t jump ahead of them).

Learn more about requesting a reasonable accommodation for a transfer


Tools for Troublemakers

Facebook Group: HUD and Section 8 Disabled Residents & Family Members

The whole shebang: Section 8 Guide for the Disabled and Plucky

If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

50 thoughts on “How to Request an Additional Bedroom (Housing Vouchers & HUD Apartments)”

  1. My boys fight so much its getting really bad Im afraid the older one will hurt the younger one, they just really dont need to share anything.

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  2. I signed a FSS agreement with the San Francisco housing that included using my voucher for homeownership
    I have an excel spreadsheet from HUD showing a few people in Mortgages.
    https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/homeownership
    HCV homeownership enrollments report
    Now the housing authority is telling me I was not in their ownership program and that the program is not “funded”
    The regs say special housing may not have separate funding accounts but a PHA may have just one general fund
    HCV Homeownership Regulations (24 CFR Part 982, Subpart M)
    Also, it appears you can file an ADA appeal for homeownership:)
    How would justify a ADA with this type of request?

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    1. Hud does have special guidelines which states that a housing authority must consider giving a reasonable accommodation request to a person with disabilities who request homeownership, even if the Housing Authority is not currently operating a home ownership program.

      So if you make this request, they must consider it. It’s a good idea to enclose in your request the hud guidance so that you can show to them that they must consider it. I will post a link below.

      However, this does not mean that they have to approve your request. They cannot deny you simply because their program is not operating or funded. But they can deny you for other reasons. For example, they could deny you if they determine that it is too much administrative work for them to operate home ownership just for you.

      I agree with you that you would need a justification to make this disability accommodation request. I do not know your circumstances so I don’t know what your justification would be, but you would need to explain in your request why being a renter is not suitable for your disabilities and why homeownership is the only medically appropriate option for your disabilities. And you would need your doctor to also state this in a letter for you. If you have been unable to locate an apartment to rent that suits your disabilities, it would be helpful to enclose documentation of your Search and all of the reasons why the available apartments did not work for you, as a way of helping show that being a homeowner is the only good option.

      One thing I want to mention… We’ve had many people here who have tried the home ownership Programs through HUD. Most of our readers have found that this program does not work well for people with disabilities. The biggest hurdle is getting a mortgage while on a fixed income. There are Also A number of other hurdles including fees involved in purchasing a property.

      If your housing authority is not currently operating at home ownership program, they might not be able to assist you with securing a mortgage or with the other steps involved. They might not be running classes that walk you through this and you might be left on your own to do everything. You might find it worth it to do some research to be able to prove to them that you would be able to successfully do this without their guidance and assistance.

      Most of our readers have found that they have had better experiences trying to be a renter as a person with disabilities then to trying to use their voucher as a home owner, Then we have heard from a few people who have successfully done homeownership, often people who have a higher than average disability income and who have local nonprofit in their area that can help support their home purchase.

      If you want to try to pursue it, this page has some more information on how to make an accommodation request if your Housing Authority does not offer homeownership: https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/if-your-housing-authority-doesnt-offer-homeownership/

      I hope it goes well for you.

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      1. Good news sort off
        I found HUD excel documents that show that SAN FRANCISCO has a homeownership program, our housing authority has 4 people in it
        I found a HUD rule (in this website?) that states that if there is a housing ownership program then the burden of proof to deny my request rests on them
        But you are right I need to make a proper ADA request!
        My landlord in the last two years has refused to repair a steam heater and the carpet destroyed and they are low-income tax credit landlords
        The boiler has been out for months at a time over the last two years
        something you folks might research
        (I think you have on Facebook)

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      2. The San Francisco housing authority does have a program and its in operation
        I found but have lost the appeal rights in that scenario
        will try to find it tonight
        the ADA process is much more favorable if this is the case

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  3. I’m 60 yrs. Old and got an acception for a 1 bedroom vs a studio. What I did not realize, and don’t understand AT ALL…
    Is why every year I have to continue to request a 1 bedroom and get the same acception ever year??? Can section 8 make me move out of my 1 bedroom.

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  4. I am a single 38 year old who recently had my number called after 14 years on the housing waitlist (section 8) and am now in a small studio. (372 sq.ft.) I am getting adjusted here and can’t help but pontificate about how much more comfortable I would be in a 1 bedroom. My question is if it is possible and under what circumstances as well as how to go about requesting it.

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      1. Idea
        I have a home health care aid but only I day a week
        I have tripped and fallen often in my studio
        I have bruises in the morning when I get up
        I have asked my Dr for a note for a E trike and would want to park it in a second bedroom in a homeownership
        in future, that’s where a live-in aid might live

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  5. I love with my boyfriend we have a daughter together. I want to add an extra room because there is 5 people living in a two bedroom . My boyfriend’s mother has multiple sclerosis and she isn’t able to fit her wheel chair in the bathroom or even shower. I basically am her live in aid. Her voucher is a two bedroom voucher. How can she increase the voucher size. I think her voucher is 1600 but there aren’t any apartment in that price point that’s has 3 bedrooms in dc. Also our apartment isn’t wheel chair accesible.

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    1. If there are five people in two bedrooms… they should automatically increase it to three bedrooms. Has she asked her housing worker?

      If they will not do it, you can follow the page above to make a reasonable accommodation request. However, I don’t think it would be needed, five people always gets three bedrooms.

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  6. I love with my boyfriend and we have a child together. His mom lives with us , she has multiple sciroccos. Her section 8 voucher is for two bedroom and is 1600. There are 5 of us is the house. How would I go about asking for another bedroom. My boyfriend stays home with her to take care of her. And I do also. She can’t be alone. Her wheel chair doesn’t fit in our bathroom and she can’t take a shower in it also m. How does she go about adding another room. So we can move to a bigger space?

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  7. I have two daughters with a two bedroom voucher.My oldest daughter have Trisomy 21 mosaicism and she always talking to herself and the doctor give me her papers siding what she have,but their did’nt said she need her own space.She also have a psychological evaluation.I did’nt send those paper down to section 8 yet.

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  8. I have a two bedroom house one of my daughter have Trisomy 21 mosaicism.I took the letter down section 8 she call me and told me that the doctor only said what she have ,but did’nt said she need space my daugher always talking to herself or hearing thing. My daughter have a support worker.Last week my daughter have a psychological evaluation.I did’nt that paper down there yet.

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  9. I have daughter on SSI and myself one of my daughter have Trisomy 21 mosaicism.The doctor wrote a letter a about her disability paper.But they said that their not written know letter about housing .Their said that up to housing and the landlord.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi I’m a single parent. I currently have a 3 bedroom voucher with 5 children 2 which have disabilities( 1 has autism and the other is visually impaired)3 of my children are over the age of 18 (18,19,20are their ages all 5 are male children)and by HUD standards are considered as adults one being the child with autism. How would I go about asking for consideration for a bigger voucher size ? They denied the asking for a bigger voucher because of my son’s disability as far as autism because he doesn’t need medical equipment. He is 19 now and definitely needs his own bedroom for his peace as well as that of his siblings. Really need advice.

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    1. Please follow the links on the page above. See the sample letters from you and from your doctor. Many of our readers were granted extra bedrooms for their children with autism as long as the documentation is correct. Hope this helps.

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    2. I have gotten an extra bedroom for my boys to be separated due to one being developmentally disabled due to CP and TBI. He couldn’t have things in his room like his brother could. They are 1 yr apart. The doctor gave me a note on a prescription pad stating, “Zack needs his own bedroom due to disability”. I took that with any other paperwork for requesting accommodations for a disabled person.

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  11. Hi, My name is gabby and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with my sister and mom.My mom is disabled which is why section 8 helps her with rent. Me and my sister share a room and my mom has her own room. Me and my sister have been sharing a room for 6 years. Im 13 turning 14 and my sister is 9, Ive really wanted a room for myself for a very long time because Im starting to stress a lot and have depression which constantly distracts me from school and everything. I just really want to know if they would accept and add a extra bedroom ? and if we do add a third bedroom would the rent go higher ?

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    1. Hi Gabby,

      If you doctor or therapist feels your depression will qualify you as meeting the fair housing act definition of disabled, then yes, you can make the request. You can follow the links above to see how to put in the request.

      The rent would not change, but of course your family would need to move to a bigger apartment.

      Hope it goes great for you. 🏵️ 🌼💛 

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  12. Hi! First, thank you so much for all the amazing info you have!!! Secondly, I could use some guidance… I’m an individual with multiple disabilities. I’ve been approved for 2-bedroom for myself and my teenage son. I’m not currently working, but have received a job offer (which I haven’t shared with the PHA). One of my disability accommodations for work is the ability to work from home as needed, which requires a dedicated workspace separate from living spaces. I spoke to my local PHA today and asked about an additional bedroom for this purpose. She told me I could only request an additional bedroom for disability related reasons, and I thought I was doing that, but I guess she didn’t think so… I already know that I’m not likely to find a 3-bedroom or a 2-bedroom within the standard payment amount that’s in a safe area. After reading through some of your other posts, I love the idea of having an office space that doubles as a meditation/exercise/yoga/art/therapy/self-care area/room. Is my original need a reasonable request? Would I be better off framing my request as a meditation/exercise/self-care room (which are legitimate necessities for both medical and mental health disability reasons), and also using this space to work when I do start working again?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Koi,

      Great question. You may wish to join the HUD facebook group for input:

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/220827085367015/

      We haven’t heard from anyone who made a request for room for work at home. Certainly whatever the housing worker told you doesn’t mean anything until you submit the request.

      However, they might still turn it down if they say it’s an alteration of their program goals (they provide housing, not employment).

      Might be stronger if you have a medical provider who verifies that the accommodation is medically necessary. For example if any of these are true:

      – Working is a required part of your disability treatment/ rehabilitation/ therapeutic plan
      – You are medically unable to maintain a job unless it is done at home
      – There is a reason related to your disability why work can’t be performed in your bedroom or another part of the house

      Meditation/exercise/yoga/art/therapy/self-care area/room:

      This sort of depends how nice your housing authority is and how strong your doctor verification is. They may resist it, but it’s sometimes possible. They will do inspections to see it is being used for the reasons stated (can’t get approved for an exercise room and then use it as an office). Again, they may question why these activities can’t be done elsewhere in the house, unless your doctor writes a reason related to your disability why separate room is needed.

      Hope this helps 🏵️ 🌼💛 

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am not allowed to be self-employed in a low-income tax credit building says my HUD/Vash social worker and I am elderly with some underlying conditions so your answer here is a nice way to write an ADA for homeownership
        Also here in San Francisco, you can have chickens and bees in your backyard so there is something called the cottage law where you can get a license to make for sale things in your house
        But not in public housing it seems

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  13. My family has 4 people: me, my sister, my mom and my dad. We have a 2 bedroom voucher but want to put in a request for 3 bedrooms. My sister and I (girl) share a room and my mom and dad share one. My dad has extremely loud and intense snoring (it’s not a medical problem) and it disturbs my mom so much that she doesn’t get any sleep at all. It’s really bas. I’ve been sleeping in the living room so she can sleep in my bed but we want to move to a new place and we don’t think a 2 bedroom voucher will have a suitable living room. We live in 3 rooms right now because rent is within the cost of a 2 room voucher. Will housing approve of our request??

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  14. Hi! Thank you for the great advice. I do have a situation of my own and need some guidance on requesting an additional bedroom.

    I (21, female) live with my mom (62), dad (60) and sister (22). We have lived in a 3 bedroom place for 8 years in a poor neighborhood and feel that it is time to move to a safer area that is more convenient for work and school. We have been downgraded to a 2 bedroom voucher for about 3 years now because my eldest sister moved out but we continue to stay in this place because rent is within our voucher amount (again, poor neighborhood). We want to move to a new community and request a 3 bedroom voucher. My sister and I are both full time college students working part time jobs (I work 2) and cover all the bills. It would be extremely inconvenient to live in a 2 bedroom place because we’d have to share a room and our schedules interfere with each other meaning we’d be home at the same time and take up each other’s studying/homework time and on days that our schedules don’t align, one comes home extremely late or the other leaves extremely early and disturbs the other. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, classes have been switched to online and it’ll be even more inconvenient to share a room while attending virtual classes (mine requires me to actively participate). At the moment we do not have these issues but I can foresee it becoming a major conflict in the house. Is my reasoning sufficient enough to be approved of an additional bedroom? Our parents do also have a history of domestic violence but legal matters have been settled although we do worry of our dad’s relapse of aggression and hostility. We weren’t planning on including this but would it be to our benefit if we do?

    Also, would we send in the letter of request before or after we move? Since currently we live in a 3 bedroom place but our voucher is for 2. Sorry for the lengthy read!

    Thank you so much!

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        1. You could contact other housing authorities and see if there is anywhere you’d like to move to with a more generous bedroom policy. Unfortunately mom/dad plus sister/sister is likely to be 2 bedrooms most places.

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  15. So I live with my mother with my two kids, son is 8 and daughter is 6. My son has his own room and my daughter shares with me (which lead to her refusing to sleep in her own bed). I applied to an income based apartment assuming I’d get a 3 bedroom but they refuse to give me anymore than 2 because of stupid hud guidelines. I mentally need my own space at this point which is why I am moving out, I have bad anxiety and depression .. which thinking about having to force my son into sharing a room after living 8 years with his own is stressing me out beyond belief but so is thinking about sharing a room with my daughter still. Not sure if there’s any way possible to get a 3 bedroom because no disabilities or anything in the family .. just stressed

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  16. I need some advice! I live on the 2nd floor and the laundry area is on the first floor. I have mobility issues due to arthritis in my hips and knees. I also so have some other medical conditions. I have ask for reasonable accommodation for a 2nd bedroom as I need to stay mobile. I have 4 different letters from doctors asking to get me off the 2nd floor and fora 2nd bedroom. The 2nd bedroom would be used for physical therapy, occupational therapy. I have a tread mill and a exercise bike plus my yoga items. When I ask for this accommodation I was told no. My case manager has to carry my grocery’s into my apartment because I can’t go up the steps and carry anything. I am unable to carry a close basket down stairs, so in short I’ve been washing my clothes out in the bathtub. A professional write out the need, when that was turn into them I received a call from them and was ask why I needed the 2nd bedroom, how I got the form and such. I was told I didn’t need any accommodation. She also said to me that she needed to make sure I wasn’t committing fraud. Needless to say I was livid! The same women tells my case manager that she is not giving me any accommodation. These people have become very rude to me since I ask for this accommodation. I then call fair housing and this lady want’s me to send her the letters that I have written out by the doctors; so I did. She then e-mails me and says that those letters could be written better. Who ordered my in home physical therapy and why I couldn’t go to a facility to have it.She then proceeds to ask my why my hear doctor wants me to exercise. These doctor’s could not of been plainer in the letters they wrote; with out giving out personal medical history. She said those letter need to be written again! Then she gets nasty with me and tells me there was no need for her to know I have a handicap placard. Now this is the lady from Fair Housing.. I have to see a orthopedic surgeon the first week of January. I have all this other medical stuff going on and to be honest I am about to blow my gasket. I was approved for SSD & SSI just yesterday; which went pretty fast after first applying a few months ago. I worked for over 40 years full time (no retirement) and I am told that your taking away a 2nd bedroom for someone who needs it. Even with all this documentation. Should I just go ahead and get an attorney because I have not gotten anyplace with the housing system her or the lady from fair housing.. I am really upset over this as it is nearly impossible to get out of this apartment because of the mobility issues and now my depression has worsened. In reality if I fall down these steps (21 to be exact) this apartment community that I am in can be sued. In short I am a liability if I do fall. I’m sorry I have rambled on but it is so many things about this situation that is not right! No one else in this building has to wash their clothes in the bath tub! It’s all just insane to me. Please advise and thank you for listening to me.

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  17. I live out of state and applied for my daughter for a voucher online out of state. When my daughter was Approved for her Voucher we were told that she would be required to live in the initial PHA state of where the voucher was distributed for 12 months. My daughter suffers from mental illness and It would be a detriment for her to move out of state away from Our Family Support, Case Workers, Treating Physicians & JOB thru Rehabilitation Services (ADA Accommodations). The Voucher was also for an One Bedroom even though my Daughter has a 4 year old Child (Daughter). A Reasonable Accommodation Request was submitted for a Transfer to remain in her residing state and increase bedroom size (2 Bedroom). It was Approved.

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    1. oh wow!!! thank you for sharing this. We’ve only heard from a few people who asked for exception to 12 month rule, and some were denied…

      This is very encouraging to hear. Would love to hear more about what you wrote in the request, if you want to share.

      Congrats!

      Like

    2. I have two daughters with a two bedroom voucher.My oldest daughter have Trisomy 21 mosaicism and she always talking to herself and the doctor give me her papers siding what she have,but their did’nt said she need her own space.She also have a psychological evaluation.I did’nt send those paper down to section 8 yet.

      Like

  18. I have a disabled daughter. I got my voucher back yesterday they refused to change my voucher to a 3 bedroom. Forcing my son and daughter to share a room. Hes 15, shes 13, shes autistic and has epilepsy, she has no shame and is not shy about her body. She will undress in front of him. He turns away or leaves the area. But she also has some medical equipment, a lift to help me get her off the floor.

    How do I get them to change my voucher after already being refused!?

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  19. I have mental health issues. I use arts & crafts as therapy for myself. It even works better than my medication sometimes. Can I get approved for an additional bedroom so I may have it as an art studio?

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    1. If your doctor or therapist feels that it is medically-necessary as part of your mental health treatment, you can make the request.

      I can’t guarantee that it will get approved, but if the doctor is specific about medical need for this to be a separate room (can’t meet medical needs or therapeutic treatment goals if performed in other places in the home or outside the home)… it would certainly be considered.

      Would love to hear how this goes if you decide to make the request, please report back.

      p.s. your doctor would also need to state that you are disabled under the fair housing act.

      Like

  20. Excellent Information.I’m going to use your advice to move my name up the wait list and get an extra bedroom for exercise equipment.
    Thank you for the great information. I will let you know how it works out

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  21. I’v been in a 2 bdrm, for 1 1\2 years,
    Section 8 has denied to pay rent increase for where I am, now are denying me a 2 bdrm, which is within my voucher rate, i’v even supplied them w a letter from doctor for excerize equipment, I have already been approved by new place, I had ask section 8 housing, for information on moving to this place, they wouldn’t supply me with answers til I gave 30 day notice, now I have only 2 weeks to move, and the place I’m living in failed their inspection for mold the 30 days for that is 4 days away… I’v called for appointment for voucher to move, I’m only getting run around from person to person…not only is exersize important for my disability, stress is a trigger for me to be in constant pain, this is become to overwhelming, that should not be!

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    1. Hi misy,

      When you submitted the doctors letter, did you write that you are a person with disabilities and this is a reasonable accommodation request? Did they give you a written denial – what was written as the reason for denying the accommodation request?

      You might try calling . your regional HUD office. There are some more places you can call on this page. so sorry to hear you are in this situation.
      https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/get-help-or-file-complaints-for-hud-housing-problems-disability/

      Like

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