The Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently issued new guidance related to the design and construction requirements for multifamily housing. The guidance is in a very user-friendly Q&A format and provides good information on what the design requirements are, who must comply with them, and what types of dwellings are covered by the requirements.
It is important to note that the design guidelines apply only to multifamily dwellings (generally buildings having four or more dwelling units) constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. If your community was constructed and occupied prior to March 13, 1991, the guidelines do not apply to your community. However, if your community is a condominium or townhome community containing more than four units, constructed for occupancy after that date, the guidelines are most likely going to apply, and will require such things as common areas that are accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities and doors that are designed to allow passage into and within all areas that are wide enough to allow passage by person with disabilities, including those in wheelchairs.
For more information on whether your community may have to make a reasonable modification if your community doesn’t meet the design standards, look to the Joint Statement of the DOJ and HUD on Reasonable Modifications under the Fair Housing Act for a great Q&A.
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