2.5 Reasonable Modifications vs. Repairs

In legal terms, in the lease for a rental property, the term “reasonable modification” or “accommodation” and the term “repairs” have different meanings. Different types of responsibilities and rights are imposed by law on both landlords and tenants depending on whether a tenant requires a reasonable modification or a repair.

Repairs mean any type of maintenance required to keep the rental property in fit, habitable, and working condition, such as repairing a broken heater or replacing faulty wiring. Repairs apply to all rental properties and include any maintenance necessary to keep the property in compliance with both state and federal law. Repairs can be the responsibility of either the landlord or the tenant, more information on which party is responsible in different situations is contained in this Section.

Reasonable modification or accommodation means any structural change which is necessary to afford a person with disabilities full enjoyment of the leased property. This means making the existing property readily accessible and useable by tenants with disabilities, such as making sure doorways are wide enough for wheelchairs or adding grab bars in the shower. See Appendix E for information on what modifications are the responsibility of the tenant and what must be legally provided by the landlord.

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