Solberg v. Majerle

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In the Circu it Court for M ontgom ery County Case Nos. 6343 & 6344 DCA IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 138 September Term, 2004 ______________________________________ ERICK SOLBERG & DEBORAH SOSSEN v. MAJERLE MANAGEMENT ______________________________________ Bell, C.J. Raker Wilner Cathell Harrell Battaglia Greene, JJ. ______________________________________ Opinion by Wilner, J. ______________________________________ Filed: July 18, 2005 This is a breach-of-lease action in which the District C ourt, and on appeal the C ircuit Court for M ontgom ery Cou nty, ruled f or the lan dlord. The action ultimately was grounded on what the landlord argued was, and the Circuit Court found to be, an unjustified refusal by the tenants to pe rmit inspections of the leased premises. The tenants, who are disabled, contended that the landlord was required by both the Federal Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.) and the lea se to make reasonab le accommodations in light of their disabilities and that her agent failed to do so. A lthough there was a clear proce dural glitch at th e Circuit Court level, the relev ant issue be fore us is ess entially a factual o ne whether there is substantial evidence in the record to support the Circuit Court s conclusion that the landlord did, indeed, attem pt to make reasonab le accommodations and th at the tenants refusal to permit scheduled inspections by the landlord s agent constituted a breach of the lease. We shall affirm. BACKGROUND In September, 1999, Debora h Sossen and Erick Solberg, p etitioners here , entered into a 24-month lease for a single-family dwelling at 10017 Brookmoor Drive, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The lease was evidenced by a Dwelling House Lease and a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD ) Section 8 Lease Addendum. For our purposes, two provisions of the le ase are p articular ly relevan t. Section 13 required the tenants to allow the landlord or her agent to enter the premises for the purpose of inspection at any reasonable time. Section 27, which by its terms prevailed over any conflicting provisions in the lease, recited that the landlord had received official medical testimony regarding tenants requirement for special adaptations to accommodate to their handicapping conditions and understood that they were on the D epartm ent of A gricultu re s pes ticide se nsitive lis t. Based on that documentation, the landlord agreed to allow reasonable accommodations and modifications for Tenants disabilities. In that regard, the land lord agreed to create the least chemical impact/load to Tenants health, and that [p]ersons entering un it for repairs will adhere to d isability guidelines as per medical advice and Tenant instructions unless for emergency repairs to preven t dama ge to pr operty. (Emphasis add ed). Section 27 precluded the landlord from terminating the lease except for certain causes, including [s]erious or repeate d violati ons of the term s and co ndition s of the lease. The landlord w as an individ ual who lived in Colorado, and, until June, 2001, she relied on her sister to manage the property. It is not clear whether any inspections of the property took place pursuant to § 13 during that period of time. In June, 2001, the landlord entered into a property management agreement with Majerle Management, Inc., in which she appointed Majerle as her agent to manag e the prope rty. The agreem ent required Majerle to make inspections of the prop erty as it felt nec essa ry, but approximately twice annually, and to report matters concerning the condition of the Premises to said Owner. On June 22, 2001, M r. Majerle informed the tenants in writing that his company had been employed as the landlord s agent. In that letter, he advised: -2- I will personally manage your home and will conduct routine matters including periodic inspections. The first inspection is scheduled for July 11 between 3:15 and 4:15 PM. These inspections are conducted semi-annually, during normal business hours and you must be present. If th is date or time is not acceptable, you may call to reschedule. Otherwise, your failure to be home will be treated as a broken appointment subjec t to a $12 5.00 ch arge. On July 10 the day before the scheduled inspection Mr. Solberg left a voice-m ail message with Majerle and sent a confirming fax message cancelling the inspection.1 His excuse was that their neighbors had been applying we ed control to their homes a nd, due to Ms. Sossen s extremely ill nature, he and Ms. Sos sen had to leave the area. Solberg noted that the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Com mission (H OC) also needed to conduct an annual inspection for its own purposes and that the Commission had been asked to reschedu le for a m uch later date due to her condition and the need to keep the house closed up and keep from tra[c]king in pestic ide residue and other incitents. So lberg acknowledged your need to inspect for the first time to know what you are managing and promised to work diligently to provide this to you at the first available time. The inspection w as resched uled and to ok place without incident in August, 2001. Majerle said that, although there we re no major problems, he noticed open electrical boxes in the ceilings, a hole in the ceiling in an upstairs bedroom, a lot of clutter both inside and 1 Solberg tes tified in one o f the variou s court proc eedings tha t he had sp oken w ith Majerle [a] couple of weeks before the scheduled July inspection and explained the protocols tha t wo uld n eed t o be follo wed to ac com mod ate h is and M s. So ssen s dis abili ty. -3- outside the house, and the [e]xterior not being taken proper care of. The County HOC also inspected the house in August and found a number of problems that Majerle resolved. In Decembe r, 2001, So lberg sent to M ajerle severa l docume nts pertaining to his and Ms. Sossen s disability, among which was a T o Whom It May Conce rn letter from Ms. Sossen s physician, Dr. Grace Ziem . Dr. Ziem advised tha t Ms. Sossen had a severe medical condition involving seizures and other severe consequences of exposure to even trace levels of irritants, pollutants and petrochemicals. As a result, she said: It is medically necessary that no individual coming to her home have fabric softener residue on their clothing, be wearing clothing that has been recently drycleaned or any other commercial cleaning p rocess, not h aving pum ped gas p rior to coming, not wear ing recently polished shoes, not having used or come into close contact that day with household or commercial cleaning agents including b ut not limited to ammon ia or Clorox, not having a recent permanent (within about one week) or other beauty salon treatm ents within about two days. The individual should not have any scented product of any type on hair, body, or clothing. The individual should be a nonsmoker (or if a smoker, should come before smoking a cigarette that day and after shampo oing, bathin g, and w ashing cloth es in baking soda and special products which th e patient can describe). It is medically recommended that the person come as their first work activity of the day, to avoid contamination and severe consequences, comin g directl y from h ome, if possible. It is important that the individual not be in the home when the patient is not present because c ontamina nts linger in the home in sufficient concentration to cause medical complications when she retu rns to he r home . 2 2 It appears that the tenants disability did not extend to animals. There was evidence that they had a cat, together with a litter box. Solberg testified that he and (contin ued...) -4- On March 20, 2002, Majerle informed the tenants that he had scheduled an inspection for April 1, 2002, between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. and asked that, if they were unable to be home at that time, to call his office to reschedule. On March 29, Solberg faxed a letter to Majerle, stating that he had been out of town from February 5 to March 25 and had just learned of the date for the insp ection. The point of his letter was tha t it was nece ssary to resched ule because [w]e need to f ind out exa ctly when the neighbor s plan law n treatmen t and with what chem ical prio r to setting an app ointme nt. He said that he would let Majerle know as soon as possible. Neither Solberg nor Sossen ever followed up with a new date. On June 14, 2002, Majerle sent the tenants a notice to vacate the premises by July 31, 2002, assig ning as reason s (1) unsa tisfa ctory exterior conditions mulch spread on lawn, repeated instances of vehicle parked on lawn; (2) repeated cancellations of management inspections; and (3) frequent complaints from neighbors. With respect to neighbor compla ints, the letter stated that the tenants had no right to chase after their pesticide applicators or to tell them what they can an[d] cannot do within their own property lines. You have allegedly told them that they may apply chemicals, but that they must notify you first. Solberg claimed that, because his mail was on hold since April 30, he did not receive the letter until the end of July. Solberg said that he called Majerle upon seeing the letter and offered to allow an inspection with in the next two to three weeks. M ajerle 2 (...continued) Sossen have a c ar that they drive. He did not indicate w ho pumped the gas for the car. -5- rejec ted th e off er an d said tha t he c ould not c ontinue to do busi ness that w ay. When the tenants failed to vacate the premises, Majerle filed a tenant holding over action in the District C ourt. That action , we are inf ormed, w as dismissed by Majerle when it was discovered that he had failed to provide sufficient notice to HOC, as required by the HUD addendu m to the lease. In November, 2002, the landlord, through counsel, advised the tenants that the lease had expired September 10, 2001, and directed that they vacate the proper ty by Dece mber 3 1. A co py of tha t notice w as sent to HOC . When the tenants failed to vacate, another tenant holding over action was filed in District Court. That, too, proved unsuccessful. In a decision rendered March 5, 2003, the court interpreted the wording of the lease and the addendum as providing for a continuing tena ncy, notwithstanding a stated term, unless and until it was terminated by the landlord, the tenant, or agreement between the two, and that the landlord could terminate only for specified causes . The cou rt conclude d that, although Majerle had acted reasonably and was not required to w ash his cloth es in baking soda, none of the listed causes for termination had been sufficiently pro ved. Acc ordingly, it held tha t the lease had not termina ted and th e tenants were not, therefore, holding over. The problem, the court said, was with the terms of the lease, not the actions of Majerle. On May 6, 2003, Majerle informed the tenants that an inspection would occur on May 22, between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. On M ay 20, as he had done on each previous occasion, Solberg cancelled the inspection. He asserted that three neighbors had hired a lawn company -6- to apply herbicides or pesticides to their lawns, that he and Ms. Sos sen were ill, and that it was medically necessary to reschedule the inspection for a late r date w hen w e are ab le. He added tha t, due to their disability, a mandatory rescheduled [appointment] will not be possib le, but advised that he and Ms. Sossen were looking to find another place to live. Faced with yet another rejection, the landlord, on May 23, sent another notice to vacate, by June 30, 2003. In addition to the denial of inspection, the notice also mentioned frequent complain ts from neighbors about both the condition of the house and incessant and outrag eous d isturban ces you h ave ca used in this com munity. When, as before, th e tenants ignored the notice to vacate, the landlord filed an action for both ten ant hold ing ove r and br each o f lease. A t trial, held in Nov embe r, 2003 , the parties reached a n agreem ent that apparently was r ead into the record, later red uced to writing and signed by Majerle, but never sig ned by the ten ants. It called fo r Majerle to inspect the property before February 29, 2004 a nd allowe d the tenan ts to remain in possession until May, 2005.3 In conforman ce with that agreeme nt, Majerle, on December 3 Petitioners did not include in the record a transcript of what occurred at the November, 2003 hearing. Apparently an agreement was reached and read into the record, but that agreement was to be reduced to writing and signed by the parties. Counsel for the landlord prepared s uch an ag reement, w hich M ajerle signed , but the tenan ts refused to sign it. In subsequent affidavits, Solberg and Sossen asserted that the written stipulation did not completely reflect the terms to which had been agreed in November 2003. The only disparity mentioned in the affidavits was that [t]he draft Settlement Agreement Plaintiff s counsel presented to the court included a provision that Tenants must allow an inspection before 2/28/04, but did not provide that if such inspection did not take place that Plaintiff w ould be en titled to posses sion. In con trast to the prov ision that said if (contin ued...) -7- 1, 2003, notified the tenants that an inspection would occur on December 17, 2003, between 3:30 and 4:3 0 p.m. O n Dec embe r 3, 200 3, HO C, after denying the tenants request for postpone ment, conducted its inspection of the house. On December 11, an attorney for the tenants cancelled the December 17 inspection, claiming that Ms. S ossen w as appare ntly still recovering from the fragrances dragged into the r esiden ce by the [ HOC ] inspec tor. 4 The attorney said that Mr. Solberg would contact Majerle to schedule the inspection for a date prior to th e end o f Febr uary. Majerle acceded to the request, even beyond the February 28 date. In a letter dated March 4, 2004, Solberg advised that the doctor was requesting that the inspection be delayed until the end of March. He attached a letter from Dr. Ziem dated February 18, 2004, addressed to Dear N eighbors, th at described in general Ms. Sossen s allergy and her susceptibility to life-threatening complications from exposure to pesticides and herbicides. Perhaps because the letter was meant for neighbors and not Mr. Majerle, it did not repeat any of the other Don ts included in her 2001 letter, but mentioned only the problem of 3 (...continued) tenants do not vacate by 05/31/05, Plaintiff would be entitled to possession. It appears, in other words, that the tenan ts agreed to permit the inspection before the end of February but would not agree to any sanction if they failed to honor that obligation. 4 The HOC inspector later testified that her appointment was for 9:00 a.m., that she arrived five minutes early and was not permitted to enter. When she tried again just after 9:00, M s. Sosse n infor med h er that sh e could not ente r until So ssen s la wyer ap peared . Not until the lawyer arrived and cleared her was the inspector allowed to enter. She said that, in preparation for the inspection, she had to wash her clothes in baking soda, could not use deodorant or any perfumes, could not have her nails freshly painted, and could not put gas in he r car. What fragrance she dragged into th e house is not clear. -8- pesticides and herbicides. Solberg also forwarded a copy of the HOC inspection report. In a telephone conversa tion, Maje rle apparen tly told Solberg, based on the cou rt s comm ents at the M arch , 200 3 hearing, tha t he d id no t inte nd to be bound by all of the fabric softener and other restriction s, but intende d to wash his clothes as he usually did. No further inspection ever occurred. On March 19, 2004, Majerle filed a motion in the 2003 District Court case seekin g judgment of possession. The motion referred to the November hearing and to the agreement that the landlord would b e permitted to inspect the property by February 28, 2004. It averred that, although the landlord s attorney signed the stipulation, it was never signed or returned by the tenants and that the tenants had twice refused to permit an inspection. The motion pointed out that the HOC Inspection Report sent by Solberg described several problems that required immediate attention electrical hazards, mildew spots, cracked window pane, large hole in ce iling , mol d in p antry and urged that the tenants refusal to permit an inspection for the purpose of makin g necessa ry repairs constitu ted a breac h of the settle ment agre ement. The tenants filed an opposition to the motion, in which they acknowledged that the inspection anticipated by the Nov ember ag reement d id not occu r but conten ded that that was due to Majerle s refusal to reasonably accommodate the tenants disabilities. On April 14, 2004, the court granted the landlord s motion and entered a judgment of possession. The tena nts n oted an ap peal to the Cir cuit C ourt for M ontg ome ry County and proceeded as if the appeal were de novo. They did not order a transcript of the D istrict Court -9- proceedings, and, until the landlord ordered a transcript o f the Ma rch 2003 proceedin gs in preparation for trial in the Circuit Court, all that the District Court transmitted were the original papers . The Circuit Court treated the appeal as a de novo one, and, th rough co unsel, the parties confirmed that when they appeared for trial on July 29, 2004. Two witnesses testified for the landlord and both sides introduced exhibits. The tenants did not appear on the first day of trial, altho ugh their attorney participated. Solberg appeared and testified on the second day of trial, which took place on August 4, 2004. After listening to all of the testimony and considering the various e xhibits, the Court concluded that the problem had become a test of wills between Majerle and the tenants and that the landlord has provided reasonable accommodations with an effort to allow for rescheduling but each time that has happened, a roadbl ock ha s been t hrow n up by th e tenan t. The Court acknowledged that the problem may not be of the tenants own doing, but stated I don t see under the facts and circumstances here, the tena nts ever allowing the land lord to come in . . . [b]ecause it s either a winter pesticide or it s a spring pe sticide or it s term ite inspections . . . . The Court ultimately found that there was a violation of § 27 of the lease in a failure to allow inspection even with the accommodations, which the Court believes were reasonable on behalf of the landlord. It declared: The simple answer or the simple proof in the pudding is, that there just never h as be en an insp ectio n sin ce 20 01 by the landlord up to the present date. And the Court doesn t see any future for them ever allowing, even when th ey reached a settlement, it couldn t be accomplished. So, for the various reasons the Court find s a breach o f the lease an d grants -10- posses sion of the pro perty to the landlor d. A written order to that effect was filed August 13, 2004.5 We granted certiorari to review that conclusion. DISCUSSION Jurisdiction of Circuit Court Although neither Majerle nor the landlord filed a cross-pe tition for certiorari, Majerle argues in its brief that the Circuit Co urt lacked ju risdiction to he ar the tenan ts appeal de novo. Ordinarily, we would not address an issue no t raised in a petition for certiorari, but a jurisdictional defect may be noticed on our own initiative. The simple answer to the argument is that there w as no lack o f jurisdiction in the Circuit Court, and, in the absence of the issue being raised in a petition for certiorari, or added by us on our own initiative, the matter is not properly before us. Maryland Code, § 12-403(b) of the Cts. & Jud. Proc. Article (CJP) provides that an appeal from the District Court sitting in one of the coun ties shall be taken to the circuit court for the county in which judgment was entered. Under that provision, the Circuit Court for Montgom ery County clearly had jurisdiction over the tenants appeal from the judgment of 5 The action was based on both tenant holding over and breach of lease. The tenants had moved to dismiss the te nant holdin g over claim , and, in Sep tember, 20 04, in response to the tenants motion to revise the judgment, the court dismissed the tenant holding over claim. Although the order is somewhat unclear, it appears that the judgment of possession remained in effect, based entirely on the breach of lease claim. -11- the District Court sitting in that coun ty. CJP § 12-4 01(f) prov ides that, in a civ il case in which the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000, exclusive of interest, costs, and attorneys fees, the app eal shall be hea rd on th e record made in the D istrict Co urt. See also Maryland Rule 7-102. This case, involving the right to possession of a home with a rental value of at least $1,500/month , certainly inv olved a n amo unt in co ntrove rsy in exce ss of $5 ,000. See Cottman v. Princess Anne Villas, 340 Md. 295 , 666 A.2d 123 3 (1995); Purvis v. Forrest Street Apts., 286 Md. 398, 408 A.2 d 388 (19 79); Carroll v. Housing O pportunities Com m n, 306 Md. 5 15, 510 A.2d 540 (1986). Accordingly, the case should have been heard on the record made in the D istrict Co urt. In CJP § 12-401(f), the General Assembly was very careful to delineate which kinds of District Cou rt appeals were to be tried de novo in the Circuit Court and w hich kinds were to be heard o n the District Court record. Civil cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000, certain petitions for injunction allowed in the District Court, and in any case in which the parties so ag ree the ap peal is to be heard on the reco rd. All other a ppeals are to be tried de novo. This construct is illuminating: the Legislature has expressly allowed the parties, by agreement, to have a case otherwise triable de novo heard on the record but has not permitted the conve rse. It follows that the parties may not, by agreement or w aiver, permit a case that the law requires be heard on the record to be tried de novo. Accord ingly, if the Circ uit Cou rt, with or without acquiescence of the parties, tries a case de novo that should have been heard on the record, the error may be raised in a petition for certiorari to -12- this Court, and, should we grant a petition raising that issue, we would ordinarily not pe rmit a defense of waiver or non-preservation to deter us from reversing. It does not follow from that, ho wever, tha t an error of th is kind is jurisdic tional in nature. In Carey v. Chessie Computer, 369 Md. 741, 756, 802 A.2d 1060, 1069 (2002) we pointed out that we view a co urt s jurisdiction al reach in te rms of whether the court has the power to render a judgment over that class of cases within which a particular one falls and that, we have tended, whenever possible, to regard rulings made in violation of statutory restrictions on a court s authority or discretion as inappropriate exercises of jurisdiction, voidable on appeal, rather than as an inherently void excess of fundamental jurisdiction itself. T he Circ uit Cou rt had ju risdiction to cons ider and decide the tena nts app eal. The problem for M ajerle here is not one o f waiver o r acquiesce nce in the C ircuit Court, but rather his failure to file a cross-petition for certiorari raising the issue and our disinclin ation to e xcuse t hat laps e. Legality of Judgment The tenants make three complaints about the judg ment b elow. Their ma in attack is that both the law and the lease require the landlord to make re asonable a ccomm odations in light of their disabilities and that Majerle failed to do so. Their requests the laundry list of DOs and DO N Ts th ey claim were reasonable and the inability of Majerle to conduct inspections was due entirely to his refusal to accommodate those requests. They also contend -13- that the landlord s claim was barred by res judicata that the District Court ruling in March, 2003 constituted a judgment that the landlord was not entitled to terminate the lease and that judgment was preclusive, and that the Circuit Court abused its discretion in not granting a continu ance so that Dr . Ziem c ould tes tify. The short answer to the res judicata and abuse of discretion claims is that they were not properly presented in the tenants petition fo r certiorari and are therefore not pro perly before us.6 We find no merit in th eir reasonab le accomm odation arg ument. Although Majerle g ingerly sugge sts that there was never any documentation that the tenants are, in fact, disabled, the landlord, in the lease and the addendum, clearly acknowledged that they were disabled. Otherwise, much of § 27 of the lease would have no meaning. As noted, the landlord acknowledged there that she had received official medical testimony regarding Tenants requirement for special adaptations to accommod ate to their handic apping conditio ns. 42 U.S .C. § 3604(f)(2 ) makes it unlawful to discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with such dwelling, because o f a handicap of the buyer or renter. 6 The question presented in the writ of certiorari was [w]he ther the Circuit Court erred as a matter of law by rejecting the tenants defense to the breach of lease claim, based on MM I s refusal to make requested accommodations to its inspection policies, where the evidence established that the requests were reasonable, necessary for the tenants, and consistent with accommodations routinely provided by MMI to other tenants? In a footnote included in the argument section of the petition, tenants raised the separate res judicata issue; bu t that is no t a prop er way to presen t the que stion. -14- Id. Section 36 04(f)(3)(B ) defines d iscrimination as including a refusal to make reasonab le accom moda tions in r ules, po licies, pra ctices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. Id. The essence of that definition is a requirement that landlords make accommodations that are (1) reasonable, and (2) necessary to afford handicapped persons an equal opportun ity to use and enjoy ho using. See Bryant Woods Inn, Inc. v. Howard County, Md., 124 F.3d 597, 60 3-04 (4 th Cir. 199 7). In defining reasonableness what is a reasonable accommodation the Federal courts have looked to principles applied under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 794) an d the Am ericans W ith Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.), in particular as enunciated in Southeastern Comm unity Colleg e v. Davis , 442 U.S. 397, 99 S. Ct. 2361, 60 L. Ed.2 d 980 ( 1979) , Alexand er v. Choa te, 469 U.S. 287, 105 S. Ct. 712, 83 L. Ed.2d 661 (1985), and U.S. Airways, Inc. v. Barn ett, 535 U.S. 391, 122 S. Ct. 1516, 152 L. Ed.2d 589 (2 002). See Giebeler v. M & B Associates, 343 F.3d 1143 , 1148-50 (9 th Cir. 2003) . What has emerg ed is that [t]he reasonab le accomm odation inq uiry is highly factspecific, requiring a case-by-case determination and that, as in the Rehabilitation Act cases, we must view the reasonable accommodations requirement in light of two countervailing legislative concerns: (1) effectuation of the statute s objectives of assisting the handicapped; and (2) the need to impose r easonab le bounda ries in accomp lishing this purpose. Hovsons, -15- Inc. v. Township of Brick, 89 F.3d 1096, 1104 (3 rd Cir. 1996) (quoting from United States v. California Mobile Home Park Management Co., 29 F.3d 1413, 141 8 (9 th Cir. 1994) and Americans Disabled for Accessible Pub. Transp. (ADAPT) v. Skinner, 881 F.2d 1184, 1191 (3 rd Cir. 1989) (in banc)). In this analysis, the courts have made clear that, among other factors, they must look at the c osts and burd ens o f any requested accommodation. In Bryant Woods, supra, the Court, quoting in part from both Southeastern Community College v. Davis, supra, and Alexander v. Choate, supra, noted that: Reaso nable accommodations do not require accommodations which impose u ndue fina ncial and administrative burdens [quoting Davis] or changes, adjustments, or modifications to existing program s that wou ld be substa ntial, or that would constitute fundamental alterations in the nature of the program [citing Choate ]. Bryant Woods, supra, 124 F.3d at 604. See also Tsombanidis v. West Haven Fire Dep t., 352 F.3d 565 (2 nd Cir. 2003) ( A def endant m ust incur reas onable co sts and take modest, affirmative steps to accommodate the handicapped as long as the accommodations do not pose an undue hardship or a substantial b urden. ); Howard v. City of Beavercreek, 276 F.3d 802, 806 (6 th Cir. 2002) (accommodation is reasonable when it imposes no fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or undue financial and administrative burdens ) (quoting in part Southeastern Community College v. Davis, supra, 442 U.S. at 410, 99 S . Ct. at 2369-70, 60 L. Ed.2d at 990). The tenants have never claimed that § 13 of the lease, requiring the m to perm it -16- inspections by the landlord at reasonable times, is not a reaso nable, neu tral, enforcea ble requirement. Nor have they claimed that the procedure used by Majerle, of limiting the inspections to one hour during ordinary working hours, giving them 10 days or more advance written notice, and permitting them to reschedule an inspection if the initial time is not convenient, is not reasonable. What they have done is to condition the right to inspect not on bending some business practice or protocol but on Majerle making wholesale and dramatic changes in his own lifestyle and pers onal hygiene not using ordinary deterg ents to wash his clothes, not wearing deodorant, or recently dry-cleaned clothes, or polished shoes, or polished nails, or scented frag rance of any kind, not putting g as in his car before coming to inspect, coming to their house directly from h is own as his first work activity of the day. Ap art from all of tha t, which at least in combination crosses the boundary of anything reasonable, they have further conditioned his inspections on what the neighbors not only were currently doing, but what on the day of the inspection a week or so in the future they might be doing in their own homes and yard s, all of which was entirely beyond Maje rle s con trol. The combination of these barriers has effectively precluded any inspection of the home since August, 2001. We are aware of no case that has mandate d anything clo se to those kinds of c onditions as a reasonab le accomm odation; ce rtainly, none has been cited to us. It is truly unfortun ate that Solb erg and S ossen suf fer from s uch an ex tensive allergic condition. We accept that they are handicapped and are entitled under both Federal law and -17- the lease to a reasonable accommodation in the rules and practices relating to their dwelling. What they have insisted upon, however, is simply not reasonable. JUDGMENT OF CIRCUIT COURT FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY AFFIRMED, WITH COSTS. -18-