Section 6: Associated Costs
6A: Reasonable Accommodation Costs
Because a reasonable accommodation is a change or an exception to a rule, policy, practice, or service, it often involves no costs. However, if there is a cost, a housing provider is typically responsible. Also, a housing provider cannot require a fee or deposit for an accommodation.
Because assistance animals are not pets, a housing provider cannot assess pet fees, special security deposits, or related pet costs for assistance animals. If an assistance animal causes damage to a unit or common areas beyond regular wear and tear, the housing provider may seek to recover costs associated with the damage from the resident in the same manner it would for damage caused by any other resident.
A housing provider must not require a person with a disability to obtain liability insurance as a condition for approval of an assistance animal. If a housing provider’s insurance carrier refuses to cover the property, substantially increases the cost of coverage, or adversely changes the terms of the housing provider’s policy because the housing provider permits a certain breed of animal as an accommodation, the housing provider should work with the resident to request a reasonable accommodation to the insurance policy from the carrier.
6B: Reasonable Modification Costs and Maintenance
A reasonable modification is a structural change to the unit or common area so that the person can enjoy full access and use the premises. Modifications can be made to the common areas and interior of the unit. The general rule is the resident pays for the modification.
However, if the housing provider receives federal financial assistance, the housing provider must pay for the modification under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, unless doing so would impose an undue burden. If a resident has a tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (formerly called “Section 8” voucher), Section 504 does not apply and the resident has to pay for the modification.
A housing provider may not refuse to grant a modification because it speculates that the modification may affect the aesthetics or property value of the building.
A housing provider may require a more aesthetically pleasing design if it does not impose any additional costs and meets the resident’s needs.
If the housing provider requires a higher aesthetic standard, which in turn requires more costly materials, the housing provider must pay for those additional costs and the proposed design must meet the resident’s needs.
Housing providers cannot require the resident to obtain special liability insurance for the requested modification.
Generally, the resident is responsible for upkeep of a modification in the unit, such as upkeep for a chair lift.
If the housing provider normally maintains the common area, then the housing provider is responsible for maintaining the modification to a common area, such as upkeep for a ramp to the front entrance of the building.
If residents are normally responsible for upkeep of the common area, then the resident is responsible for maintaining the modification.
Example of Reasonable Modification Costs:
Carlos rents a single family home and his lease requires him to clear the sidewalk and driveway of snow. Carlos installs a ramp at the front door of the home. Carlos is responsible for maintaining the ramp.
6C: Available Modification Funds
Available Modification Funds:
Below are resources for funding home modifications (e.g., installing grab bars, wheelchair lifts, or ramps, etc.):
Children with disabilities under 21:
UIC Division of Specialized Care for Children
Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:
Various locations and phone numbers
The City of Chicago’s Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS)
Resources for Senior Help with Home Modifications
Funding sources for modifications compiled by a private modification company:
Funding sources for modifications compiled by
Family Resource Center on Disabilities: