Law protects disabled lease-breaker

Rent it Right

Q: My husband and I are four months into a yearlong lease. My husband has multiple sclerosis, and now uses a wheelchair. The bathroom door is too narrow to let him through, and once in, the chair wouldn’t even be able to turn because the room is so small. We need to find an accessible apartment, but the landlord says we have to find someone to take over the lease in order to avoid being responsible for rent for the rest of the lease term. What can we do? –Abbie G.

A: The first thing to do is educate your landlord on his responsibilities under the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act, which protects the rights of disabled tenants. The Act has two broad rules for landlords: First, when a disabled tenant proposes a change in the landlord’s rules or policies, the landlord must comply unless the change would be unduly burdensome (generally, the landlord pays whatever expense is associated with the request).