Member Support Question: Storing Scooters
ONPHA gets a lot of questions about accommodating tenants under the human rights code. The answer below around scooter storage first appeared in a previous Quick Connections issue. It illustrates the way an accommodation request can be handled well.
Question: One of our tenants has recently acquired a scooter for mobility but we’re not sure how to accommodate it. What steps should we take?
Confirm that an accommodation is needed
The first step is to consult with the tenant about their need for the scooter. If the tenant requires a scooter for a disability, you must take reasonable measures to accommodate the tenant’s request. The accommodation process is a shared responsibility between the landlord and the tenant. The tenant should be able to provide you with information about how close the scooter needs to be to their unit in order to meet their needs.
Negotiate ways that a tenant can participate in their accommodation
If they have not yet purchased the scooter, the tenant may want to consult with an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist to decide what might best suit their needs, while also taking into account the physical limitations of their current space. If there is not enough space in a tenant’s unit to fit the scooter, the tenant might be interested in being placed on an internal waiting list for a unit that is more suitable for scooter parking.
Create/refer to internal policies and procedures and be consistent
If your organization has a policy requiring tenants who use scooters to have appropriate insurance for them, this should be discussed with the tenant as soon as possible.
Remember the accommodation should not impact others health and safety
In most situations, a scooter can’t be parked in your building’s corridors for fire safety reasons. A tenant may be able to fit the scooter inside of their unit, or they might need to rearrange or remove some of their furniture in order to accommodate the scooter. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of their exit in case of emergency, the tenant’s own unit is often the best option. Depending on the layout of your building you may have room to park a scooter in the lobby or another area without it being a safety hazard.
Consider accessibility in your capital or operational planning
If you have several tenants using scooters, consider creating a scooter storage area. This could exist within your current building or in a separate structure. As long as power is available to charge the scooter battery, parking it in an existing parking space is also an option.
As a housing provider, you may also have concerns about potential damage to the tenant’s unit or the corridors. Using a durable material on the lower half of the walls in the tenant’s unit and around elevators, corners, and high traffic areas will protect your walls from any accidental scrapes and bumps.
For more information, contact ONPHA’s Member Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.