Why do apartment buildings need to be ADA compliant?

Why do apartment buildings need to be ADA compliant?

As a result, in Building A, the spots allotted to the accessible units must comply with all components of Section 502, which addresses standard criteria for parking spaces such as the width of the access aisle and the appropriate signs. Is it necessary for older apartment complexes to be ADA compliant? Yes. All complexes at least 10 years old must be ADA compliant. Older complexes have more flexibility in how they can meet their obligations under the law.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that apartment buildings be accessible to people with disabilities. This means that each unit must be able to accommodate someone with a disability who needs or requests an accommodation. In other words, if an apartment building has 12 units, at least one unit must be set aside for someone with a disability. The Law requires this accommodation to be made "as is practical." It means that while building owners are expected to make accommodations, they don't have to do so by completely redesigning their properties. For example, an apartment building could reserve 1-3 units per floor for individuals with disabilities, while providing full accessibility to everyone else.

What kinds of disabilities are covered by the ADA? The Law covers individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Physical disabilities include being paralyzed from the neck down, having a leg length discrepancy, or being blind or deaf. Mental disabilities include autism, Alzheimer's disease, and schizophrenia.

Does the ADA apply to existing buildings?

Because the ADA is a civil rights statute rather than a construction rule, older buildings are frequently needed to be accessible in order to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equitable participation. For example, an elevator is required for any room within a building where someone may be confined by a disability or injury and unable to walk up the stairs.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to new facilities as well as alterations and modifications to existing facilities. The ADA requires that new public accommodations be made accessible to people with disabilities. In addition, if an accommodation is not provided, then people with disabilities cannot use the facility. Accessibility requirements vary by type of facility but generally include making entrance ways, restrooms, and other areas where people gather accessible to those with disabilities.

Alterations and modifications to existing facilities are also subject to the accessibility requirements of the ADA. For example, if an existing facility is remodeled to provide more space for customers with disabilities need to be able to access this new space, it becomes necessary to make the renovation accessible.

Facilities that are not accessible can cause great hardship for people with disabilities. If an individual needs an accessible facility but does not have a disability, he or she should not be denied access because of this fact.

Can an apartment building be grandfathered into the ADA?

Many apartment complexes predate 1991, and homeowners are occasionally advised that their building is "grandfathered in" and does not need to comply with the ADA, even if it contains a public aspect like a leasing office. This, however, is not the case. Tenants enjoy handicapped parking privileges regardless of the age of the structure. But just because a facility is legal to occupy under federal law doesn't mean it can't be improved upon. The old complex may have had to provide some kind of alternative transportation mode for tenants who use wheelchairs, but this requirement goes away once you move in. And since most new apartments now include full-size washing machines and dryers, many older buildings don't have adequate storage facilities for these appliances.

The bottom line is that any apartment building can be made accessible to people with disabilities, as long as its current state complies with the law. If your local housing authority has not taken action yet, call them up and encourage them to bring the property into compliance.

Also make sure the complex isn't about to be demolished or altered significantly. Most states require official approval from their departments of transportation before a structure can be deemed inaccessible. These approvals can be obtained by either adding appropriate ramps or by providing a complete network of crosswalks with audible signals. In some cases, where changes would be too expensive or difficult to accomplish, states will allow for exemptions.

What buildings must comply with the ADA?

According to the ADA, all new public accommodations, including small enterprises, must be accessible and useable by individuals with disabilities. The 2010 Standards establish accessible design criteria for newly built and updated public accommodations and commercial facilities. Existing facilities are required to be modified by January 1, 2015, so that they are accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities.

All private schools receiving federal assistance must follow the accessibility requirements for public schools. Private schools that receive no federal assistance can choose how fully to implement these requirements, but they cannot deny access to any student because of the student's disability.

Commercial facilities such as restaurants, theaters, museums, and libraries must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. They may refuse to serve individuals with disabilities if this policy is stated in writing and followed by the institution.

In addition to building structures, the ADA requires that services, programs, and activities be accessible to individuals with disabilities. For example, an agency that receives federal funds must have an effective plan for providing qualified interpreters at meetings, events, or other program activities.

Examples of other types of services, programs, or activities that would need to be made accessible under the ADA include: banking; business services; government agencies; health care providers; hotels and motels; restaurants; shopping centers; social service programs; transportation; and workplaces.

About Article Author

Alexander Lusk

Alexander Lusk is an enthusiastic and talented individual who loves to build things. He has been working in the construction industry for over 20 years, and has gained a lot of experience during that time. Nowadays, Alexander loves to work on projects that are different from what others are doing, as it gives him the opportunity to be creative and come up with new ideas. He also enjoys working with other tradespeople such as electricians, and carpenters to get the job done properly.

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