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Federal Disability Rights Laws
This guide provides an overview of Federal civil rights laws that ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities.
with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act, Titles II and III, may
apply to housing. Title II applies to the activities of state
and local governments, including housing. Title III applies to
places of public accommodation, such as rental and sales
Standards for Accessible Design
The ADA Standards for accessible design are the accessibility
standards adopted by the Department of Justice for compliance
with Title III of the ADA.
Architectural Barriers Act of 1968
The Architectural Barriers Act is a general accessibility law
that requires buildings owned, leased, or operated by the
federal government, and those financed by a grant or loan from
the federal government, to be accessible. The accessibility
standards used under the Architectural Barriers Act is UFAS.
Fair Housing Act as amended
Congress passed the Fair Housing Amendments Act on September 13,
1988 extending coverage of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of
1968 (the Fair Housing Act) to prohibit discriminatory housing
practices based on disability and family status. The Fair
Housing Act also prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental,
and financing of dwellings based on race, color, religion, sex
and national origin. The Fair Housing Act establishes seven
design and construction requirements for all covered multifamily
dwellings consisting of four or more units designed and
constructed for first occupancy on or after March 13, 1991.
Housing Act as amended [PDF, 67K]
Fair Housing Act Regulations
After Congress passed the Fair Housing Act, the Department of
Housing and Urban Development adopted extensive regulations that
describe in more detail the various forms of housing
discrimination covered in the law. The sections of the
regulations that address design and construction issues are 24
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 100.205 and some definitions
are found in Section 24 CFR 100.201. Other portions of the
regulations that deal with disability issues are in 24 CFR
100.201-.203. In general, HUD's regulations implementing the
Fair Housing Act have the same effect as a law does.
Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act bars recipients of federal
funds from discriminating on the basis of disability.
Specifically, Section 504, which is enforced by HUD, prohibits
recipients of federal funds from discriminating based on
disability. For recipients of funding from HUD, this includes
the requirement that in new construction and substantial
alterations at least 5% of the housing units are accessible to
people with mobility impairments and at least 2% of the housing
units are accessible to people with vision or hearing
impairments. In addition, Section 504 requires recipients to
make reasonable accommodations, including structural changes, so
that people with disabilities can use and enjoy housing. Section
504 covers all of the programs and activities of a recipient of
federal financial assistance, and has additional requirements
beyond those described here.
Uniform Federal Accessibility
The Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards, or UFAS, are the
accessibility standards that have been adopted by various
federal agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD), and are applicable to housing funded by HUD.
Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) [PDF, 4324K]
(Adobe Acrobat Reader Required)
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