AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
Do any accessibility requirements apply to detached single-family homes?
single family homes that are funded in any way by federal,
state, or local funds may be required to be accessible under
laws other than the Fair Housing Act. These laws, particularly
Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the
Americans with Disabilities Act, have requirements for
accessibility. For example, detached single family houses funded
through the HOPE VI program operated by the Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD), whether for sale or rental,
must comply with HUD's requirements for Section 504. This
includes making at least 5% of the units accessible to persons
with mobility impairments and at least 2% of the units
accessible to persons with vision and hearing impairments. The
applicable standard for compliance is the Uniform
Federal Accessibility Standard or UFAS.
Are the public and common use areas of a newly constructed development that consists entirely of buildings that have no covered dwelling units required to be accessible under the Fair Housing Act?
there are no covered multifamily dwellings on a site, then the
public and common use areas of the site are not required to be
accessible under the Fair Housing Act. Supplement
to Notice of Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines: Questions
and Answers about the Guidelines, 59 FR 33362-33368, June 28,
1994, question 13.
If the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the Fair Housing Act requirements both apply to the same property, which standard should be used?
III of the ADA, in relevant part, applies to commercial
facilities and public accommodations. Inns, hotels, motels, and
other places of lodging are public accommodations under Title
III of the ADA, as are dormitories, homeless shelters, nursing
homes, and some timeshares. See 28
CFR 36.104. In addition, the common areas that are for
public use at "covered multifamily dwellings" under
the Act must meet the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (ADA
Standards). For example, a rental office in a multifamily
residential development or a convenience store located in that
development would be covered under Title III of the ADA. 28
CFR 36.104. Common use areas that are for use only by the
residents and their guests would not be covered by the ADA.
What are the federal access requirements for rental offices?
Are rental offices required to be accessible under the Fair
A resident of a condominium is deaf and needs a sign language interpreter to interpret Homeowner Association (HOA) meetings that affect the resident's legal and/or financial obligations as a homeowner. Does the HOA have an obligation to provide and pay for a sign language interpreter?
A request for a sign language interpreter falls under the reasonable accommodation requirements of the Fair Housing Act. If a person requires a sign language interpreter in order to participate in important decision-making activities at a HOA meeting affecting their legal rights or financial obligations as a homeowner, then a request for provision of a sign language interpreter as a reasonable accommodation may be made. If the request is found to be an undue financial and administrative hardship, an interactive process should be engaged in between the parties to develop an agreed upon strategy to provide an effective alternative means of enabling the homeowner to participate in the Homeowner's Association meetings and protect his/her legal and financial rights. If the provision of a sign language interpreter is not a financial and administrative hardship, the HOA should provide and pay for the services.
A potential purchaser, who has a hearing disability, of a single-family house from a developer requires a sign language interpreter in order to communicate with construction staff during construction of the house. Does the Fair Housing Act require the builder/developer to provide and pay for the interpreter service?
A request for a sign language interpreter falls under the reasonable accommodation requirements of the Fair Housing Act. If a person with a hearing disability needs an interpreter in order to participate in critical stages of a construction activity, a request for a reasonable accommodation may be made. Interpreter services should be provided and paid for by the builder/developer unless providing them constitutes an undue financial and administrative burden. If the request for an interpreter is an undue financial and administrative hardship for the builder or developer, the parties should enter into an interactive process to develop a communication strategy that will provide a meaningful exchange of necessary information between the person with a disability and the builder. Alternative solutions could entail establishing a regular meeting to be held for several hours every two weeks, at which the builder provides interpretative services. Communications of a brief or interim nature could then be handled through a TTY relay system telephone call. The Americans with Disabilities Act likely also applies to this situation, as the builder is serving the public in the context of selling a commodity, and thus the right to request a reasonable accommodation also extends from the ADA.