If you have a disability...

You have a right to the housing of your choice. It is illegal for anyone to deny you housing because you or someone associated with you has a mental or physical disability, has a record of having had a mental or physical disability, or are perceived to have a mental or physical disability, even if you don't.

Protected disabilities include mental retardation, mental illness, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairments, AIDS, chronic alcoholism, among others. People who use walkers, wheelchairs, service dogs, or a personal care attendant are also protected.

How to recognize housing discrimination

Landlord and real estate agents usually don't say, "You can't live here because you have a handicap." Some of the things they do say are:

"You can't live here because there's no one to take care of you."

"I'd like to rent to you, but my insurance will go up."

"How can I be sure that you can pay the rent?"

"We don't want alcoholics or drug addicts here, even if they're in recovery programs."

"We have a no-pets rule and that includes your guide dog."

"I want to see your medical records."**

"Your wheelchair will damage the carpet and walls, and you won't be able to get out if there's a fire."

**While it is unlawful for a landlord to ask questions to determine if you have a disability or to discover the severity of a disability, they may make such inquiries to determine whether you qualify for a dwelling available only to persons with a disability or a particular type of disability or to determine whether you qualify for a priority available only to persons with a disability or a particular type of disability.

You are entitled to make reasonable modifications to rental property

Landlords must let you make physical changes to your apartment if you need them, but landlords don't have to pay for them. For example, if you need grab bars in the bathroom or wider doors, the landlord must give you permission to make those changes.

The landlord may, where reasonable to do so, condition permission for a modification by requiring you to agree to restore the interior of the premises to their original condition before you move out of the premises, excepting reasonable wear and tear.

You are entitled to reasonable accommodations

Landlords must make reasonable exceptions to rules that interfere with your ability to live comfortably in your home, including public or common use areas. For example, if you need to make an extra key so a friend can come to help you, the landlord has to bend the rule that only tenants may have keys. If you can't hear a smoke alarm, the landlord must install visual alarms in public areas and must let you put one in your apartment. Despite a no pet policy, if your have a disability, a landlord must allow you to keep a guide dog.