Finding temporary housing is hard and that challenge is compounded when you have a child with a disability. Homesuite provides accessible corporate housing and furnished apartments for families with disabled children frequently, so we can sympathize with the hassle. Whether it is for medical extended stay, a relocation or a vacation, we want to be there for families with disabled children. We put together a step-by-step guide for finding accessible corporate housing and furnished apartments to help with the process.
Step 1: get in the right mindset
There is no seamless way to find short term housing when you have a child with a disability. It will take work and double checking to get into the right place. Be ready to put some time into the search, get ready to have your patience tested and be ready to educate landlords on what it means to be accessible.
Step 2: put together your criteria for your housing
Begin with the basics. The basic four criteria are: location, dates, budget and bedrooms. Begin by writing down what would be your ideal scenario for all four. Mark which ones are flexible and which are non-negotiable. If you are like most people looking for monthly housing, you will need to compromise on at least one of your criteria.
Layer on your specific needs. Certainly, the special needs of your child should be considered here. Are they physically handicapped, need ramps and an accessible bathroom? Are they going through a major surgery and need a dust-free rental? We include some specific questions further down this article. You should also consider other things you want in your rental. HVAC requirements? Number of bathrooms? Access to a swimming pool? Mark everything down.
Step 3: begin your research
Despite being the internet age, there aren’t a lot of online options specifically designed for families with disabled family members. We recommend the following, depending on your criteria:
Homesuite: Homesuite has many handicap accessible listings. We recommend inquiring on listings that meet your criteria and asking about the specific handicap requirements that you may have. Homesuite also emphasizes good service during your stay and professionality of our landlords. Here is some more information about our specific offerings in San Francisco, Los Angeles and other markets.
Accomable: this is a smaller company that brands itself as “Airbnb of Accessible Travel”. They have over 1000 listings. It’s worth looking to see if they have any properties that could work for you. You can check it out here.
Hotels: if you have the budget for it, look into local hotels as an option. They tend to be easier to search and have more standard design, making it easier to find handicap accessible hotels. You can browse hotels on Expedia.
Motels and extended stays: local motels and extended stays can be more affordable than hotels, but you trade off quality. If you are on a budget and want simplicity and standardization over comfort, look into this option. Extended Stay America is the largest extended stay provider in the US.
Step 4: ask the right questions.
Many landlords and hotel operators do not know exactly what it means to have an accessible property. Make sure you think through all the specific features that need to be there for you and your child to be comfortable. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Are the doors at least 32 inches wide?
- Are doors opened by handle or knobs?
- Are handles in place on any ramps?
- Are light switches and thermostats low enough to reach?
- Are carpeted surfaces easy enough to roll upon?
- Is the bathroom large enough to navigate in a wheelchair or with assistance?
- Is the shower or bathtub accessible? Is there a bench or chair if appropriate?
Make sure to think through all aspects of the rental to ensure that it works for your family. You can also use our list of general questions to ask your landlord to help with composing your list.
Step 5: know your rights
Check to see if your child’s disability qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA gives disabled persons specific rights. Under ADA, a landlord must:
- Make reasonable exceptions to rules (such as allowing a service dog in a no pets rental)
- Allow you to make reasonable modifications to your rental
- Tell you about all vacancies in a building and let you choose which unit you want
- Not charge you anything extra because you have a disabled child
- Not ask you questions about your child’s disability
- Not require that their tenants be capable of independent living
- You can read more about your rights here
Here are some additional resources oriented toward housing in general that you may find helpful in your search:
We know that finding temporary housing when you have a child with a disability can be really hard, but we hope this helps. Best of luck with your search!
Anything we missed? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.
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Homesuite is the leading provider of monthly furnished rentals for business travel. We are differentiated by combining the comfort of home with the professionality of a hotel. Our customers include Google, Facebook, Microsoft and thousands of smaller businesses. In addition to our business offering, we also serve individuals traveling for work and personal reasons. Founded in 2014, we operate across the United States with specific focus in large urban markets.