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Property Management Considerations

The role of the property manager is key to establishing a sustainable and long lasting landlord-tenant relationship.  Not only must the property manager collect rent and ensure that operations and maintenance are run smoothly, but to connect with each tenant in an involved, caring and proactive manner.  The fundamental trait of a good property manager is excellent communication and respect for all residents.  

ROOF will proactively meet with rental property owners and property managers to provide information and guidance on leasing to people with developmental or other disabilities.  There are several areas that are critical to consider:

Lease Up

  • Individuals with developmental disabilities with very low incomes receive a monthly check from various benefits.  Landlords may need to be flexible in receiving rent payment on a specific date as there may be a time delay from making the deposit, to writing the check to mailing it.  
  • Prospective tenants may have a support coach or family member who accompanies them to view a property and select a unit.  The support network is critical to independent living- the property manager should be aware of this support and have contact information.
  • Due to income limitations, some prospective tenants may not qualify for minimum income requirements and will need a co-signer.  Some may have a rental voucher so properties that accept vouchers will be greatly appreciated.
  • Some properties have a mandatory setaside for tenants with a disability or extremely low income.  Marketing can be difficult if the property manager does not have access to these tenants.  ROOF will assist property managers to connect!

 Fair Housing

  • Persons with disabilities are a protected class under the Fair Housing Act and as such may request reasonable accommodations to meet their accessibility needs.  Some may have access to programs or grants that will assist with these modifications.  An enlightened and welcoming property manager makes this process so much easier and can result in genuinely accessible homes.
  • Accessible features in dwellings include items such as wide doors, sufficient clear floor space for wheelchairs, lower countertop segments, lever and loop type handles on hardware, seats at bathing fixtures, grab bars in bathrooms, knee spaces under sinks and counters, audible and visual signals, switches and controls in easily reached locations, entrances free of steps and stairs, and an accessible route through the house. Most “accessible” features are permanently fixed in place.  


As noted, clear, regular and friendly communication is key for the success of any property management relationship with tenants.  For tenants with a disability, this can be even more important.  

  • Property managers, maintenance personnel, and security staff should be advised of any special needs a tenant may have.  
  • The support provider for the tenant should make sure that all contact information is up to date and readily available with connections for off hours or holidays.
  • The tenant may not be aware of flyers or notices regarding inspections, routine maintenance inside the unit, power down, or site work pending.  Extra effort may be necessary to make sure the tenant gets the message. 


Sometimes things go wrong.  A message may be missed, rent could be missed, or the need for maintenance or repair not communicated.

  • Property management should have access to the tenant’s support network to work out a solution.