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Eviction and Reasonable Accommodations in Texas

Summary of a tenant's right to ask for reasonable accomodation to avoid an eviction

 

1. Can a landlord evict me just because I have a disability?

  • No, not for disability alone. Sometimes, though, a disability can have characteristics, or can cause conduct, that may result in complaints or violate the lease. Those are the cases that this handout is talking about.

2. In general, can a landlord evict me for having an unapproved pet?

  • Maybe. Such conduct may violate the lease, and may result in an eviction. But see Question 3 below.

3. What if I have an animal that is not just a pet, but is needed because of my disability. Can the landlord evict me under its “no pets” policy?

  • Generally not. For example, if a person has a service animal (trained to perform some task) or an emotional support animal (that gives comfort to a person with a psychiatric disability), it is not really a pet. In those cases neither the person nor the animal can be excluded just because of a “no pets” policy.

4. In general, can a landlord evict someone for misconduct, property damage, or disturbing others?

  • Sometimes. Such conduct may violate the lease, or even be illegal, and may result in eviction.

5. What if there is misconduct or disturbance, but it is caused by my disability, or is related to my disability. Is there anything I can do to stop an eviction in that case?

  • Maybe so. In some cases, the landlord may violate the law if it refuses to stop an eviction in response to a tenant’s request for a “reasonable accommodation.” So asking for a reasonable accommodation may give you some protection against eviction.

6. What is a reasonable accommodation?

  • A reasonable accommodation is a change in rules, policies, practices, or services that are needed to give the person with a disability an equal chance to live in a dwelling. Both state and federal laws require a reasonable accommodation, if one is needed.

7. How can a reasonable accommodation help in an eviction case?

  • In evictions, even if a tenant without a disability could be evicted, a landlord cannot necessarily evict a tenant with a disability because of behavior related to the tenant’s disability. If it is possible for a landlord to alter its policies and rules in a reasonable way so that a tenant with a disability can stay in the housing, the landlord must make the accommodation (unless it has a defense described in Question 17, in the full article). 

8. Are you saying that a reasonable accommodation might require a landlord to change its policies or rules?

  • Yes, it might.

9. Can a reasonable accommodation require a landlord to spend some money?

  • Yes, that is possible, too.

10. Can you give me some examples of reasonable accommodations that might come up in an eviction case?

  • There is no complete list anywhere. In the housing context generally, accommodations might include selecting a different location for mail delivery that more is accessible to a tenant in a wheelchair (but still acceptable to the Postal Service), or not requiring the previous rental history for an applicant who is coming out of an institution.
  • In an eviction situation, some of the more common accommodation requests include allowing a service or support animal, or giving the tenant time to get assistance, medical or psychological treatment, or medications so that the tenant can change behavior.

Click the link below for the full article on "Eviction and Reasonable Accommodations in Texas" by Disability Rights Texas