AUBURN — Twin Cities landlords are invited to a forum about their duties and rights concerning renting to tenants with disabilities.

“Landlords may not completely understand their responsibilities regarding this issue — and neither do tenants,” Auburn Community Development Coordinator Yvette Bouttenot said.

The forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 14 in the Auburn Housing Authority offices in the Esplanade, 20 Great Falls Plaza.

According to Maine law, landlords need to make reasonable accommodations for tenants.

“Their disability may be that they require a service animal or they are hearing impaired,” Bouttenot said. “So, the landlord has to provide for that tenant, as long as it’s reasonable.”

There are limits, and that’s what the forum is design to explore.

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“If someone needs a handicap ramp and it’s not possible to put it on the building, the landlord won’t be forced to do something like that,” she said.

The forum will feature Portland City Councilor and Maine Human Rights Commission attorney Jill Duson. She’ll be joined by attorneys Neil Shankman and Aubrey Russell of Shankman and Associates.

The forum is being sponsored by Auburn and Lewiston as a part of each city’s Community Development Block Grant requirements.

“We both receive federal funds and we are required to promote fair housing activities,” she said. “In the past, we’ve done them separately. A lot of time, the issues are the same in both cities, so instead of duplicating our efforts, we decided to put it all together.”

Bouttenot said the cities planned to schedule a similar forum for tenants in the fall.

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