Reasonable Accommodations & Sleeping in Living Room

Art: Robin Mead

After making a reasonable accommodation request for a separate bedroom, some people are running into a problem:

The Housing Authority finds that the request is valid, but then states that another household member can sleep in the living room or in a den, eliminating the need for an additional bedroom.


Family of four with a two bedroom voucher. Housing Authority states that two people can share a room, disabled child can have private room, and mom can sleep in living room. Two bedroom voucher stays two bedrooms.

Will My Housing Authority Make Me Sleep in the Living Room?

Maybe. Not all housing authorities have a “sleep in the living room” policy. You may be able to find their policy on their website, it is often included in a document called “administrative plan.” Or you can request a copy of their occupancy policy, Or you can ask where you can find a copy of their administrative plan. How Bedrooms Work (Housing Vouchers)

If your Housing Authority has this policy, here’s a few options:

Option One: Sleep in living room

Obviously, if someone is able to actually sleep in the room Without causing significant problems for your family, you can do this and then you do not need the accommodation.

Option Two: Explain Why Someone Can’t Sleep in the Living Room

If there is a reason why someone sleeping in the living room might cause a problem for the disabled person, you and your doctor can include this reason in your  accommodation request. Examples of Reasons Someone Cannot Sleep In Living Room

Option Three: Learn the Fair Housing Act definition of disability

This will help you understand who in your family is and is not eligible to make reasonable accommodation requests. The fair housing act definition is different than the Social Security administration definition, a person does not need to be receiving Social Security benefits to make this request. Fair Housing Act Definition of Disability

Option Four: Submit Multiple Requests

If more than one person in your household is disabled, some families make more than one reasonable accommodation request for a bedroom. Each person would need a separate providers letter or doctors letter explaining the disability-related need. Depending on the bedroom occupancy policy for your housing program, this may or may not lead to additional bedrooms.

Option Five: Learn the Types of Requests for Bedrooms

There are five different ways bedrooms can increase: Five Types of Requests for Additional Bedrooms

Number of bedrooms can also change by changing housing authorities, adding  household members, or finding a place that is within your voucher price range and just happens to have an extra bedroom: How Bedroom Policies Work

Option Six: Appeal 

If your request was denied and the housing program wrote that someone can sleep in the living room: It is possible to appeal this decision if there is reason why someone sleeping in the living room would interfere with disability needs. This kind of appeal is not always successful. Ideally, your appeal would be documented by a doctor or provider, and include a strong disability related reason.  Examples of Reasons Someone Cannot Sleep In Living Room

Option Seven: Resubmit 

Easier than an appeal: You can resubmit the request. Send a short note stating that you are making a new request for a bedroom and that your new doctor’s letter includes more details and verifies the reasons why sleeping in the living room is not a suitable arrangement for your family. Then attach original doctor’s letter plus new letter about the living room.

Learn More

🌸 This page is part of the free online guide: Epic Master List of Disability Accommodation Letters

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

🌸 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

Updated February 2020. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:


3 thoughts on “Reasonable Accommodations & Sleeping in Living Room”

  1. I been in need of a reasonable accommodation for 6 years in the state of California. I have requested for relocation of a second floor unit, because I have a child with a learning disability. My child is unable to focus or gets aggravated because she is unable to concentrate or focus. I live for a subsidized building and been told many different things when requesting for an accommodation or modification. I been that I am on the waiting list within my apartment building because no unit is available on the 2nd floor, that I qualify for based off my income. They also own other buildings, so I asked for relocation. I was denied because my management owner does not own that building and it wouldn’t be fair for the other applicants on the waiting list.
    Its been 6 years and there is always an excuse. I have provided various letter from doctors still no solution.

    Can anything be done ?

    Liz Frias


    1. Hi Lissette,

      Have they given you a written decision on your accommodation request? Was it approved or denied?

      How long ago was the decision made? If it was approved a long time ago, you might try contacting them in writing ask for written verification that no upstairs units have become open in all the time you have been waiting.

      If you want to move buildings, you could try to put in another accommodation request for a transfer, using same doctors letters.

      I think it would be good to do everything in writing.

      sample letters for requesting a transfer:

      Hope this helps.


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