New water heater? Not on landlord’s dime

Rent it Right

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Q: I've developed a painful skin condition that requires treatment with large amounts of very hot water. The water in my apartment isn't hot enough and it takes too long to heat up the amount of water I need, so I've asked the landlord to install a new water heater or give me a device that makes hot water at the sink. He's refused, saying, "You don't look disabled to me." I thought landlords were legally required to respond to a request like this -- aren't they? --Sherry S. A: To figure out whether your landlord is legally required to install (or let you install) a new water heater, you'll need to understand the Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act, or "FHAA" (42 U.S. Code § 3604 and following). Both you and your landlord appear to be mistaken in at least a couple of key areas. First, the FHAA protects only those who have a disability as defined by the law: a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life a...