As a Landlord or Estate Agent it is important that you try and accommodate tenants with a whole host of different needs. Not only does this apply to whether the tenants will be an individual, couple, family but also their ages as previously discussed. However, those who have a specific disability may also need alterations made. In this case we are discussing ways to accommodate deaf tenants in rental properties.
Learn Some ASL
In this day and age, it’s not unusual for most correspondence to be via email. However, for more when it comes to signing the tenancy or handing over the keys this is something that will need to be done in person. For these situations it is important to make the effort to learn some ASL. Resources for this are available on many platforms online, including the official British Sign Language Website.
This is something that may appear a small gesture, but would mean a lot to the tenant as it shows you have taken the time to learn to communicate with them. This in turn will make them feel more confident and comfortable to communicate with you throughout the length of their tenancy.
It is important for any tenant to know what to do in emergency scenarios. This importance is only enhanced when accommodating for a deaf tenant. Any Estate Agent/Landlord will need to ask themselves how to handle this and accept there may be some extra cost or reasonable requests involved. For example, investing in Fire Alarms for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing or allowing the tenant to have a hearing dog within the property even if there is usually a no pets policy.
Lastly, it is mandatory to ensure that anyone coming into contact with the tenant is aware they are deaf. This includes any other agents, regular maintenance, or third-party contractors. This is to ensure that no distress is ever caused to the tenant by strangers turning up and not understanding that the tenant cannot hear them.
Special consideration should also be taken to give notice to the tenant of any visits for inspections or planned maintenance ahead of time. This will also include ensuring the tenant knows to respond to confirm receipt of the message. By opening the lines of communication every one stays happy.
In conclusion, all any Landlord/Estate Agent wants is happy tenants. For those who have deaf tenants to accommodate for, by following these easy steps the necessary consideration is taken and every one stays happy. There may be extra cost or effort involved for the Landlord/Estate Agent, but that could be exactly what makes the tenant move into the property, as they feel as though their needs are being catered for.