D&C Accessibility Requirements as Part of the Federal Fair Housing Act's Disability Protection

Multi-family housing--apartment buildings, condos, etc.--constructed since March 1991 must meet certain minimum accessibility standards per federal fair housing law

In an effort to document the multitude of accessibility requirements in the marketplace and, eventually, pinpoint the discrepancies between the Fair Housing Act's Design and Construction requirements against other commonly referred to requirements, standards, and safe harbors, the FHCO and the Community Development Law Center offer the following resource materials:

"Builder Beware"

Don't think that your local planning or zoning officials are watching for compliance; the Fair Housing Act's requirements don't fall within their jurisdiction. You need to know both your local requirements, as well as federal accessibility minimums as set out in the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.

‘Close Enough’ May Result in a Fair Housing Lawsuit

Anyone involved in design, construction, development, and/or management of any multi-family housing (four or more units) first occupied after March 1991 should take note. You may be in jeopardy of being named in a fair housing complaint. No one should know better than architects, planners, and builders how essential accurate measurements are to a safe, attractive, and successful building project. Nowhere is this more true than in following fair housing design and construction (D&C) standards.

  • Do the running slopes on your property’s access routes fall outside of the 1:12 - 1:20 range?
  • Are access routes at least 36” wide?
  • Do you have steps, high thresholds, or knobs (vs. lever-style handles) on front entrances of units and common areas?
  • Have you placed outlets and other controls at least 15” above the floor?
  • Have you allowed a 30x48” clear space in front of bathroom sinks?

We consider the sites linked here to be authoritative resources:

Fair Housing First: The Definitive Resource on D&C Requirements

Accessibility Requirements for Buildings

"Visitability"

ConcreteChange.org
With goal is to make all homes "visitable," ConcreteChange.org was created by a nonprofit, non-governmental, consumer-controlled organization in Georgia. Provides interesting cost analysis for accessible features and additional resources.

Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access' Universal Design and Visitability Project
An affordable, sustainable and inclusive design approach for integrating basic accessibility features into all newly built homes and housing.

The Right Door For Everyone: Universal Design Resources