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Housing Self-Advocacy for People with Disabilities


Know your rental and credit history. Renting ... The record of the eviction will stay on your credit report for 7 years. Housing rights ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Housing Self-Advocacy for People with Disabilities

Housing Self-Advocacy for People with Disabilities
  • Disability and Employment Rights Advocacy
  • Spring 2008

What is involved in self-advocacy?
  • Learning your rights
  • Keeping a case file on yourself
  • Choosing your battles
  • Documenting your business relationships
  • Asserting your rights
  • Enlisting help with you need it

Self-Advocacy in Housing
  • Finding housing
  • Having a good Landlord/Tenant relationship
  • Getting what you need from your housing
  • Leaving on good terms
  • Asserting your rights throughout the housing

Housing Options
  • Emergency
  • Renting
  • Buying
  • Extra Help

Emergency Housing
  • Public assistance programs can sometimes help and
    are a good place to start
  • Social service agencies sometimes have shelter
    space available

  • First Steps
  • Know what you want
  • Know what you can afford
  • Know your rental and credit history

  • It is unlawful for landlords or public housing
    agencies to discriminate on the basis of
    disability status
  • If you are denied housing, you may make a
    complaint with the Department of Fair Employment
    and Housing or with the United States Department
    of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair
    Housing and Equal Opportunity office

  • It is unlawful for sellers or lenders to
    discriminate on the basis of disability status
  • If you have been refused as a buyer or been
    denied a loan because of your disability, you may
    file a complaint with the HUD Fair Housing and
    Equal Opportunity office

Extra Help
  • If you need extra help to live independently, you
    may qualify for In Home Supportive Services
  • If you have a helper, but your landlord or a home
    seller does not want to permit your helper to
    stay in your unit, you may file a discrimination
  • If you need a service animal for help, your
    landlord must permit it as a reasonable
    accommodation (but he or she can charge a pet

A good landlord/tenant relationship
  • Know your lease terms
  • Keep your landlord informed (if you need a
    service animal in the unit, if you will have a
    care giver visiting, etc.)
  • Put important information in writing
  • Be a responsible tenant

Reasonable accommodations during tenancy
  • Requesting Accommodation
  • Explain what you need and why you need it
  • Educate your landlord about your rights as a
    person with disabilities
  • Offer to discuss your request
  • Be prepared to offer documentation from a medical
  • If you request is denied
  • Consider finding a professional advocate
  • Make a discrimination complaint

Types of reasonable accommodations
  • Physical modifications
  • Exemptions from tenant rules or lease provisions
  • Examples
  • Permission to wear special clothing in the common
    swimming pool
  • Permission to pay rent in cash
  • Permission to widen doorways or lower countertops
    in a unit

What is reasonable
  • Must be necessary because of the tenants
  • Cannot pose an undue financial hardship or
    administrative cost on the housing provider
  • Cannot fundamentally change the housing
    providers business

Leaving on good terms
  • Notice
  • Rental agreements usually include a notice
    provision and it is usually 30 days
  • A notice from your landlord is not an eviction
  • Security deposit issues
  • Leave the unit clean and repaired (if you caused
    any damage)
  • Do a walk through with the landlord before you
    turn over the keys
  • If you dont get the amount of the deposit back
    you are owed, you may sue in Small Claims court

  • Eviction means that an unlawful detainer action
    is filed against you in court and
  • You did not answer and a default judgment was
    entered against you, or
  • You filed an answer, went to trial and lost

Eviction process
  • Your landlord must first give you a notice to
    vacate the unit (3 days for non-payment of rent
    or 30-60 days for all other reasons depending on
    how long you have lived in the unit.)
  • If you do not give up possession of the unit
    (vacate and turn over your keys) before the time
    given in the notice expires, your landlord can
    file an unlawful detainer and serve you with
    the summons and complaint
  • You cannot try to avoid being served!

Eviction process, cont.
  • You have 5 days from the day you are served to
    file an answer to the summons and complaint (in
    the answer you state your defenses)
  • Within approximately 20 days from the day you
    file your answer, a trial will be scheduled
  • At your trial, you can bring witnesses, evidence
    and argue your side of the dispute
  • The judge or commissioner will issue a decision

Common eviction defenses
  • Failure of the landlord to accommodate if you
    are being evicted because you failed to comply
    with a provision of your rental agreement and you
    requested a reasonable accommodation
  • Habitability if your rental unit was not
    habitable or safe enough to occupy and you
    withheld rent because of that
  • Bad notice if your landlord didnt serve the
    unlawful detainer or the notice properly

After eviction
  • If you are evicted, you may file a Stay of
    Execution to get more time to move out. The
    judge does not have to grant the stay, but being
    disabled and needing extra time to pack and move
    is a valid argument for granting the stay.
  • Within 60 days of the filing of the unlawful
    detainer, your credit record will show that your
    landlord either evicted or tried to evict you
  • The record of the eviction will stay on your
    credit report for 7 years

Housing rights
  • Fair housing
  • A habitable unit
  • Rights pursuant to the lease or rental agreement
  • Notice to terminate tenancy without cause (from
    30-60 days for private housing, 90 days for
    Section 8 units)
  • Hearing rights for Section 8 tenants
  • Unlawful Detainer process
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