WHAT IS A REASONABLE
Eric Glazer, Esq.
Published March 9, 2020
In the housing context, pursuant to The Fair Housing Act, a
reasonable accommodation is a change in a rule, policy,
practice, or service that may be necessary to allow a person
with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a
dwelling. Failure to provide a reasonable accommodation may be
construed as discrimination. In addition, the Fair Housing Act
prohibits a housing provider from refusing to permit, at the
expense of the person with a disability, reasonable
modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by
such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford
such person full enjoyment of the premises.
Common examples of a reasonable accommodation would be:
Allowing a unit owner access to a parking spot that is closer to
their unit because of a physical injury;
Allowing the unit owner to install an elevator lift so that they
donít have to walk steps;
Allowing the owner to install a device that helps them access
the swimming pool.
These installations must be made at the cost of the person with
It is clear that the intent of the law is to help those with
physical disabilities use and enjoy their home.
Now here it where it got confusing for me last week. On the
Condo Craze and HOAs radio show, a woman called in and explained
that she has cancer and has physical disabilities being able to
walk. She is in poor health. The condo has a rule which
prohibits smoking on the catwalks. When she smokes on the
catwalks the neighbors complain that the smoke is bothering them
and they demand she stop. She asked me if the condo can be
forced to provide her with a reasonable accommodation which
would allow her to ignore the rule prohibiting smoking on the
In twelve years, I have answered thousands of calls on the how.
However, this call I wonít soon forget. Here was a woman who
has cancer and demands that the condo association change their
rules so that she may actually harm her own health and that of
her neighbors. I asked her what type of cancer she has. She
explained she had a double mastectomy. I asked her what her
oncologist thought about her smoking, to which she responded
that she has no problems with her lungs.
I never smoked a cigarette in my entire life. The very smell of
it sickens me. At that moment however I realized the absolute
hold nicotine can have over a personís life. I actually found
the phone call amazing and disturbing.
In any event, I told this woman that I did not believe the condo
was under any obligation whatsoever to help her commit suicide.
This is not providing a reasonable accommodation in order that
she can use and enjoy the dwelling. On the contrary, it would
be providing an unreasonable accommodation which would help her
die in her dwelling while poisoning the neighbors around her.
I closed the call by telling her that I only wish her a long
healthy life, but when she hangs up with me, she should call a
professional and get immediate help to kick the habit. I hope
HOA & Condo Blog
Eric Glazer graduated from
the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after
receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community
association law for more than 2
decades and is the owner of Glazer
and Sachs, P.A. a seven attorney law firm with offices in
Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and satellite offices in Naples,
Fort Myers and Tampa.
Since 2009, Eric has been the host
of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs
at noon each Sunday on 850 WFTL.
He is the first attorney in the
State of Florida that designed a course that certifies
condominium residents as eligible to serve on a condominium
Board of Directors and has now certified more than 10,000
Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit
Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated
dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric
also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the
best interest of Florida community association members.