On or Off-Campus College Housing and COVID-19

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Disability Rights Texas Handout

Created 8/5/2020
Publication Code: HS10

On or Off-Campus College Housing and COVID-19

This handout can be made available in Braille or audio file upon request.

Do you or someone you know have:

  • Worsening anxiety about moving back to an apartment for college during COVID-19 even though they have already signed a lease? Is it making it hard to eat, sleep, or focus?
  • Worsening anxiety about moving into on campus housing during COVID-19 even though they have already signed paperwork to live on campus? Is it making it hard to eat, sleep, or focus?
  • Roommates who will not follow CDC, state, or local guidelines for interacting with others and you are immunocompromised or otherwise at risk?
  • Worsening anxiety because your dorm, on campus housing, landlord, or apartment complex is not taking adequate precautions against COVID-19 and you are immunocompromised or otherwise at risk?

If so, you can ask your landlord to change their policy to accommodate your needs to allow you out of your lease early without paying penalties, fines, or fees.

To ask for an accommodation:

Tell your landlord in writing (even e-mail or text would work) what is happening and explain what you need.

If the landlord does not respond or says no, make sure you let them know that you are asking for a reasonable accommodation

If the landlord asks for more information or proof, it is a good idea to provide your landlord with a note from someone that is in a position to know about your situation (such as a doctor/nurse, therapist, social worker, or even a close friend that knows the situation) that explains why you need the accommodation.

If the landlord still refuses, reach out to housing@DRTx.org. We may be able to help.

Sample accommodation letter:

(Note: You should change the bold portions of this accommodation letter to fit your circumstances.)

Dear Landlord,

I am writing to ask for a reasonable accommodation as a person with disabilities that impact my ability to sleep and function. I live at 123 Road Dr., City, Texas.

You have a policy of requiring tenants to fulfill their lease or pay penalties, fees, and fines to end the lease early. I request an accommodation to that policy. Specifically, I request that you allow me to end my lease early with no additional fees, fines, or penalties. I need this accommodation because continuing to live in this apartment is making my anxiety worse. Staying here is making it harder for me to sleep and function.

I would appreciate a response in writing within 5 days. Please let me know if you have any questions about my request for a reasonable accommodation. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to receiving your reply.

Sincerely,

Resident

Housing accommodation request example:

For example, some landlords will not allow you to move to another apartment during the year. However, if you live with someone that is unwilling to follow federal or state precautions against COVID-19 and it is making your anxiety worse or you are immunocompromised or otherwise at risk, you can ask the landlord to allow you to move into another unit without penalty. In this example, if the landlord refuses to remedy the situation, you may request to end your lease early if living with the roommate.

 

If you need assistance with any of the issues describe above, please call us. We are a nonprofit organization, and there is NO charge for our services. For help, contact us in any of the following ways:

  • Call our Intake Line at 1-800-252-9108 (M-F, 9 am to 4 pm)
  • Apply online 24/7 at DRTx.org
  • Send an email to housing@drtx.org with your name, phone number, address, and a description of the problem.

Disability Rights Texas logo

www.DRTx.org
Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Main Line: 512-454-4816

Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

These handouts are not intended to, and do not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.