Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


PARKING SPACES

Under the Fair Housing Act's design and construction requirements, how many resident parking spaces must be made accessible at the time of construction?

A minimum of two percent of the number of parking spaces serving covered dwelling units must be made accessible and they must be located on an accessible route; if different types of parking are offered, such as surface parking, garage, or covered spaces, a sufficient number of each type must be made accessible. Fair Housing Act Design Manual, page 2.23.

If buyers or renters request an accessible space at the time of the first sale or rental, it may be necessary to provide additional accessible parking spaces if the two percent are already reserved. These spaces must be offered on the same terms and with the full range of choices offered to others.

If additional spaces are needed as a reasonable accommodation to a person with a disability after the buildings are constructed, additional accessible parking spaces may be required.


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Are carriage house type units--where a dwelling unit is constructed over a garage--covered by the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements?

If an individual stacked flat unit incorporates parking that serves only that unit, and the dwelling footprint is located over the footprint of the garage below, the unit is treated like a multistory unit and is not covered. However, if the stacked flat unit is not in the footprint of the garage below, i.e., where several flat units are located over a common garage, the units are covered, and must be accessible.

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Which entrance or entrances to a covered unit must be accessible? Can the accessible entrance be a patio door or a back door?

An entrance is an exterior access point used by residents for the purpose of entering the building. Using a patio door or a secondary door like a back door as the only accessible entrance establishes different terms and conditions for people with disabilities. This practice may also require a person with disabilities to use long or circuitous routes, which violates the Act. This principle was recently affirmed in United States v. Edward Rose Construction Co., Civil Action No. 02-73518, (W.D. MI, 2003) where the court said, "HUD interprets the Act such that a primary entrance is part of the public or common use areas, regardless of whether it opens from the interior or exterior. If this is true, then, it must comply with the FHA accessibility requirements, even if there is a secondary entrance that is adequately accessible. A 'primary entrance,' it seems, is one that is on an accessible route and is most likely to be used as such, particularly when it is most convenient to parking."

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Do the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements contain a height requirement for vertical clearance in a garage?

No, Fair Housing Act standards do not require a particular vertical clearance for garages for van access. Preamble, Guidelines for Requirement 2, Supplement to Notice of Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines: Questions and Answers about the Guidelines, 59 FR 33362-33368, June 28, 1994, question 14(d). However, if a parking garage provides a passenger-loading zone, such as near the lobby or an elevator, the passenger-loading zone would have to meet applicable ANSI provisions 4.6, "Parking in Passenger Loading Zones," including the requirement for a minimum vertical clearance of 108 inches.

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Are garbage dumpsters required to be accessible under the design and construction requirements?

The garbage dumpster itself is not covered by the design and construction requirements. However, a sufficient number of garbage dumpsters must be located on an accessible route. If an enclosure is built around the dumpster, the opening must have a 32 inch clear width and an accessible route must be provided to the dumpster door. If parking is provided at the dumpster, accessible parking must also be provided.

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Are multifamily housing developments that utilize a valet parking service still required to provide 2% accessible parking spaces serving covered dwelling units?

Yes. A minimum of 2% of the parking spaces that serve covered dwelling units must be accessible. Fair Housing Act Design Manual, pages 2.23-2.24, Supplement to Notice of Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines: Questions and Answers about the Guidelines, 59 FR 33362-33368, June 28, 1994, question 14. Provision of valet parking does not change this requirement.

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