Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


GRAB BARS

Are there other accessibility issues that are not addressed by the design and construction requirements that can still be challenged as violating other provisions of the Fair Housing Act?

Yes. In some situations, design and construction-related issues may be challenged as violating other provisions of the Fair Housing Act. In some instances, design or construction of some features are not required by the design and construction requirements, but they may be requested by applicants or residents as reasonable accommodations or reasonable structural modifications. Depending on which law or laws apply, builders, developers, owners, managers and others may be required to provide reasonable accommodations in existing properties, or to permit reasonable structural modifications to existing properties which provide greater or different levels of accessibility than the design and construction requirements.

For example, an applicant or resident may need grab bars installed. Although installation of grab bars is not required under the Fair Housing Act's design and construction requirements, permitting the installation of grab bars at the expense of the applicant or resident may be required as a reasonable structural modification. In federally funded properties, grab bar installation may be required in order to comply with applicable federal laws, or as a reasonable accommodation to the disability-related needs of the applicant or resident.

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If grab bars are installed in a bathroom during or after the design and construction of a covered dwelling unit, must reinforcements still be provided in walls at the minimum areas specified in the Guidelines?

Regardless of whether grab bars are provided as part of a fixture or added during construction, the reinforcing must be located in the appropriate places to support grab bars in a range of positions that comply with the minimum specifications in the Guidelines. Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, 56 FR 9472, 9509, Requirement 6, Note, March 6, 1991.

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When a molded fiberglass conventional tub/shower unit is installed in bathrooms, molded portions of the sidewalls, even if reinforcing is provided, can interfere with the later installation of grab bars. Do these types of fixtures comply with the Fair Housing Act requirements?

No, the fixtures will not comply unless the reinforcements are placed so as to permit the later installation of grab bars. A bathroom that contains fixtures that are shaped in ways that that would not permit grab bar installations to reach the reinforcing will not comply even if the reinforcing is provided. Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines, 56 FR 9472, 9509, Requirement 6, Note, March 6, 1991.

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