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Top 5 Tips For Apartment Hunting With A Disability

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Real Estate Radar, Variety

Apartment hunting is not always easy. This is especially true if you are disabled. Federal law protects the disabled from discrimination. However, this does not mean all apartments are handicap friendly.

Photo credit: Josh Appel

Does the law mean all apartments must be handicap accessible?

This is a common misconception. All apartments that were constructed after March 4, 1991, must have a certain number of apartments that are adaptable. This means multi-family apartments must have certain features, and they must be easily converted to apartments for the disabled. However, they do not have to adapt them unless they choose to.

Photo credit: Robert Ruggiero

The law says that public areas must be accessible to people with disabilities or handicaps that require them to use equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, and other devices. Public areas are the rental office, clubhouse, meeting rooms, and gyms or pools. They must have a specific number of handicap parking locations based on the size of the facility.

There are ways to make your apartment search easier. We will list the top tips that will make your apartment search productive.

  • Use your computer to search online. Using an apartment locator allows you to type in exactly what you need. You can look in a specific area. If you are looking for Frisco apartments, you would click and browse the listings to ensure your needs are met.
  • Look for newer apartments. As stated above, the laws were put into action in March of 1991. An apartment built before that date is less likely to have the amenities you require.
  • Do not pass up apartments listed specifically for senior citizens. The considerations built into the complex to accommodate elderly people may have just what you need. Ask them if they will allow a younger person with disabilities.
  • Make sure you qualify. Landlords cannot refuse to rent to you simply because you are disabled. They must treat you the same way they treat their other tenants. That means you will (usually) have to pass a credit check and a background check. It also means you must have sufficient income to afford the rental based on their requirements. Do your own check and if there is anything that needs to be corrected on your reports, take care of it before you apply.
  • You cannot be refused rentals because you have a service dog. Even if the apartments have a no pet policy, your service dog is an exception. He can accompany you everywhere you go. This includes an apartment.

Things you should know

A potential landlord cannot ask you the nature of your disability. You do not have to disclose if you have an illness or have been in an accident or were born with your disability.

There are state and local agencies that will assist you in your search.

When a landlord tries to put all handicap or disabled people in one section, it is called “steering.” When they do this, they may not tell you about vacancies in other parts of the complex. This is illegal, and a form of discrimination.

Check online for reviews from current or former tenants. Weigh the information carefully. If there is only one complaint about a facility, it could just be someone who had a disagreement, and is seeking revenge. But, if you see 10 complaints about the problems in the apartment, it is probably true.


Renting an apartment is a challenge for a disabled person. But, if you do your research, check your credit scores, and get proof of income; it will go much smoother. As long as you met the requirements like everyone else, you can find the apartments of your dreams.

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