The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all types of housing transactions, and defines persons with a disability to include those individuals with mental impairments. So how should a property manager handle a mentally ill tenant who may be causing issues at their property? The following is an excerpt from the recent JPM article, Working with Mentally Ill Tenants.
Lynn Dover is a partner in the fair housing practice group of the Kimball, Tirey & St. John law firm in San Diego, Calif. She has written extensively on the subject of working with mentally ill tenants and said the law hasn’t changed much over the past few years. The most important point for property managers to keep in mind, she added, is that eviction is usually not the best solution and should be used only as a last resort.
“A common mistake managers make,” she said, “is not recognizing there may be a mental disability under the eccentric behavior. Look for red flags, such as a tenant who’s making claims so outlandish that they couldn’t possibly be true, such as rays from outer space coming through the TV or neighbors bugging their apartment.