Sec. 12178 - Establishing that a Requested Accommodation is Necessary

ยง 12178. Establishing that a Requested Accommodation is Necessary

(a) If an individual with a disability or their representative makes a request for an accommodation that provides reliable information about the disability and how the requested accommodation is necessary to afford the individual with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or housing opportunity, then the person considering the request may not request any additional information about the individual's disability or the disability-related need for the accommodation.

(b) If the disability of the individual requesting an accommodation is apparent or known by the person considering the request, and it is also apparent or known how the requested accommodation is necessary to afford the individual with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or housing opportunity, then the person considering the request may not request any additional information about the requestor's disability or the disability-related need for the accommodation. Known means that the person considering the request is personally aware of the disability or the need for the accommodation. Apparent means that either the disability or the need for the accommodation is obvious, although the person considering it did not know about it before the request was made. For example, if a tenant with quadriplegia who uses a power wheelchair goes in person to the off-site management office for their apartment building and requests an accommodation in the form of moving to a first-floor apartment, and the management office knows that the apartment building does not have a functional elevator, the management office may not request further information about the disability before evaluating the request for an accommodation.

(c) If the disability of the individual requesting an accommodation is apparent or known by the person considering the request, but the need for the requested accommodation is not readily apparent or known, then in order to evaluate the disability-related need for the accommodation, the person considering the request may request only information that:

(1) Describes the needed accommodation; and

(2) Shows the relationship between the individual's disability and how the requested accommodation is necessary to afford the individual with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or housing opportunity.

(d) If the disability of the individual requesting an accommodation is not readily apparent to the person considering the request, the person may request only information that:

(1) Is necessary to establish that the individual has a disability;

(2) Describes the needed accommodation; and

(3) Shows the relationship between the individual's disability and how the requested accommodation is necessary to afford the individual with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or housing opportunity.

(e) A person considering a request for an accommodation may not seek information about:

(1) The individual with a disability's particular diagnosis or medical condition, the severity of the disability, medical records, medical history, other disability or medical issues unrelated to the request, or other disability or health related information beyond the information identified in subdivision (d) above.

(2) Information unrelated to the inquiry in subdivision (d) above.

(f) Depending on the individual's circumstances, information establishing that the individual has a disability can usually be provided directly by the individual with a disability through a variety of self-certification methods, including documentation of receipt of disability benefits or a credible statement by the individual with a disability. A credible statement by the individual is one that a reasonable person would believe is true based on the available information.

(g) Information confirming that the individual has a disability, or confirming that there is a disability-related need for the accommodation, may also be provided by any reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual's disability or the disability-related need for the requested accommodation, including:

(1) A medical professional;

(2) A health care provider, including the office of a medical practice or a nursing registry;

(3) A peer support group. Peer support groups are mutual support groups developed as alternatives to traditional medical or psychological treatments. They provide services such as education, peer mentoring, peer coaching, and peer recovery resource connections for groups of people with disabilities or people suffering from a wide range of trauma or illness;

(4) A non-medical service agency or person, including In-Home Supportive Services or Supported Living Services providers; or

(5) Any other reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual's disability or disability-related need for the accommodation. This could include a relative caring for a child with a disability, a relative caring for an elderly family member with dementia, or others in a caregiving relationship with a person with a disability.

(h) The determination of whether a third party is reliable must be determined on a case-by-case basis. A determination of reliability may take into account:

(1) Information establishing how the third party is familiar with the individual's disability or the disability-related need for the accommodation;

(2) Information that specifies the functional limitations that underlie the request for an accommodation, but this information need not include specific medical information or terminology; or

(3) Information providing a means to contact the third party to verify that the person identified did in fact provide the documentation and to answer any questions permitted by law.

(1. New section filed 9-16-2019; operative 1-1-2020 (Register 2019, No. 38).)

Note: Authority cited: Section 12935(a), Government Code. Reference: Sections 12920, 12921, 12926, 12926.1, 12927, 12955 and 12955.3, Government Code.

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