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Apartments

Published – July, 2012

Dear ADA,

        My wife and I live in an apartment complex. I am now using a manual wheelchair and find I have a lot of problems getting around. There is no accessible parking space near my apartment with a curb cut; and I need a short ramp into my apartment. What can I do to be able to get help?

Signed…feeling trapped

 

Dear Trapped,

        Apartments are mostly covered under the Fair Housing Act under HUD, not the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The only parts of an apartment complex that is under the ADA is the office area, because that’s where potential renters park and are served; and the clubhouse if it is available for rent by people who don’t live in the apartment complex.

        Here is information about your specific issues.

        PARKING: The apartment complex management must provide you with an accessible space near your apartment, even if they don’t provide reserved spaces for any other tenants. It is called a “reasonable accommodation” under the Fair Housing Act Amendments. If your apartment management wants more information about that, they can call our office.

        RAMP TO YOUR APARTMENT: If your apartment complex was built after 3/13/1991, there is not supposed to be a step up into your apartment if your apartment is on the first floor. So the apartment management needs to contact us or the local building inspectors to find out what their responsibility is now. If your apartment complex was built before 3/13/1991, the management is not responsible for a ramp into your apartment. However, they can not deny you the opportunity to put your own ramp into your apartment.

        Our agency is available to survey your specific area and do research on when the apartment complex was built. We would be happy to talk with your apartment management and, perhaps, perform training for them about the Fair Housing Act Amendments. Please contact us at 704-537-0550 or email us at askada@disability-rights.org for more information.

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