Reasonable Accommodations & Modifications

Updated August 19, 2019

Fair Housing laws require that reasonable accommodations be made for disabled applicants, residents or their guests. In addition, reasonable physical modifications may not be denied to applicants or residents. We are firmly committed to complying with these requirements.


What is a Reasonable Accommodation? A reasonable accommodation is a change, exception or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces. Since rules, policies, practices and services may have a different effect on persons with disabilities than on other persons, treating persons with disabilities exactly the same as others will sometimes deny them an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. To show that a requested accommodation may be necessary, there must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability. Examples of accommodations that are typically reasonable are: providing a resident with a mobility impairment and who is substantially limited in his ability to walk with an assigned parking spot close to his apartment; allowing an assistance animal when a property has a no pet policy; allowing a resident with a mental disability and a fear of leaving her apartment to sign paperwork in her apartment instead of requiring that she come to the rental office in person.

What is a Reasonable Modification? A reasonable modification is a structural change made to existing premises, occupied or to be occupied by a person with a disability, in order to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises. Reasonable modifications can include structural changes to interiors and exteriors of dwellings and to common and public use areas. To show that a requested modification may be necessary, there must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested modification and the individual’s disability. Further, the modification must be “reasonable.” Examples of modifications that are typically reasonable include: widening doorways to make rooms more accessible for persons in wheelchairs; installing grab bars in bathrooms; lowering kitchen cabinets to a height suitable for persons in wheelchairs; adding a ramp to make a primary entrance accessible for persons in wheelchairs; or altering a walkway to provide access to a public or common use area.

How Applicants & Residents Request a Reasonable Accommodation or Modification:

  1. Reasonable accommodation and modification requests may be submitted in writing, verbally, or in any other equally effective means of communication to the local property office staff or to the corporate office. All requests will be reduced to writing, and dated upon receipt. We have prepared reasonable accommodation and modification request forms that are available in the property office, by clicking on these links: Reasonable Accommodation / Modification Procedure Policy or Reasonable Accommodation / Modification Request Packet, or by calling the corporate office at the numbers listed below for individuals who wish to utilize them. Individuals may also ask for staff members or other individuals to assist them with completing the request process.
  2. We may need to verify the identifiable relationship, or nexus between the individual’s request and their disability. The third party verifier may be a doctor, medical professional, peer support group, non-medical service agency or a reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual’s disability. The verifier will be asked to: verify the individual is eligible for and needs the requested accommodation / modification, state the major life activities that are limited by the disability and how the accommodation / modification will offset the limitations of the referenced major life activities; and indicate if the accommodation or modification is needed for a lifetime. Verifiers may choose to provide the requested information to us in writing, verbally or in any other equally effective means of communication. The individual submitting the request may be asked to sign a Verification form, which will be sent to their identified third party verifier, allowing us to verify the accommodation or modification is necessary based on the individual’s disability. Alternatively, the individual may take their Request and Verification forms to their verifier directly for completion.

Processing the Request:

  1. Property staff will review the request and determine if additional verification is necessary. If staff is aware of the individual’s disability and the need for the accommodation and/or modification, staff may verify the need for the request without additional third party verification. For example, if the individual is wheelchair bound and is asking for a cabinet below a sink to be removed, staff may determine that third party verification is not required before submitting the request.
  2. If verification is required, the property staff will forward the request(s) and third party verification to the identified third party for verification once the request(s) is received in the office. If the requesting party chooses to deliver the Request and Verification to their verifier and return the forms to the property office once they are complete, the Request will not be logged until the forms are returned.
  3. If the Verification is not complete or if it is not clear, it may be necessary to follow up with the identified third party verifier and/or the requesting individual. Our efforts to clarify the request will be documented and the requesting individual may contact us for the status of their request at any time during the process.
  4. If the Verification is not returned in a reasonable period of time, staff will attempt to notify the requesting individual so that he or she may contact their third party verifier or select another one. If we are unable to verify the request after making several attempts, we may notify the requesting party that their request has been cancelled.
  5. When the completed verification form is returned, or if verification is not necessary, the request(s) for the reasonable accommodation / modification and the third party verification form or a statement by staff that verification is not necessary will be submitted electronically to our 504 Coordinator for approval or denial.
  6. When considering the request, the 504 Coordinator will confirm the third party verification supports the request or that third party verification is not necessary, and will take into consideration the property's ability to fund the request, the administrative burden and physical feasibility. In the event the 504 Coordinator determines the request poses an administrative and financial burden or it is physically infeasible, the 504 Coordinator will engage in an interactive process to determine if there is an alternative accommodation that will effectively address the needs of the individual making the request. If property funding is not required (Conventional or Tax Credit properties), or if it would pose a financial burden to the property to provide the request, the requesting individual or another source may pay for the reasonable accommodation / modification. Individuals granted a modification in Conventional or Tax Credit properties that are not subject to Section 504 requirements may be required to remove a modification at the end of tenancy at the individual’s/source's expense.
  7. The 504 Coordinator will make every effort to return a decision to the requesting party within ten (10) days of the initial request. However, delays in receiving the Verification or the need for clarification may prohibit us from meeting this timeframe. If a response is not received within this ten (10) day timeframe, the requesting party may contact the Property Manager or the 504Coordinator to determine the status of their request.
  8. If the request is approved, the Property Manager will be copied on the decision and work with the requesting party to make the preparations necessary to provide the accommodation or modification.
  9. If a request is denied, the requesting party may contact the 504 Coordinator to discuss any questions regarding the denial.
  10. If the requesting individual does not agree with the decision made by the 504 Coordinator, he/she has 10 days to appeal the decision by writing to our Vice President of Operations. If the individual making the appeal is unable to submit the appeal in writing, he/she may authorize a staff member or a third party to assist with the appeal process.
  11. The Vice President of Operations will evaluate the request and make a final decision to approve or deny the request. This final response will be returned to the applicant / resident within 10 days of receipt of the appeal letter.
  12. If the requesting individual does not agree with the decision made by the Vice President of Operations, they may request a meeting, which will be held via telephone or in person at the Company’s discretion, to discuss the denial with either the 504 Coordinator or the Vice President of Operations and another member of Company’s Management Team by sending a written request to the 504 Coordinator. If the individual requesting the meeting is unable to submit a written request or attend the meeting in person, they may authorize a third party to assist them with the process.
  13. Upon completion of the meeting, a final letter will be sent to the requesting individual, indicating the decision supported by the Management Team.

Guest Requests: Guests who are requesting a reasonable accommodation will be asked to provide verification of the disability and the disability related need for their request to the property office. If the guest does not already have verification, he or she will need to make arrangements with their verifier to obtain verification that can be provided to the office.


Tamarack Contact Information:

504 Coordinator
Dustin Tucker

Vice President of Operations
Jeryl Schneider

Address
Tamarack Property Management Co.
2929 3rd Avenue North, Suite 538
Billings, MT 59101-1944
Telephone / Fax Numbers
(406) 252-3773 (tel)
(406) 252-9512 (fax)
711 (TTY)
State Fair Housing Contacts:
Montana Fair Housing
519 East Front Street
Suite 504
Butte, MT 59701
(800) 929-2611
Wyoming Fair Housing
305 West 1st Street
Casper, WY 82601
(866) 255-6362
(Utah) Industrial Commission, Anti-Discrimination Division
160 East 300 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
(800) 222-1238