What Is the Law?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990, makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals with disabilities. This law covers many aspects of life for the disabled, including real estate and housing concerns. The law’s impact on real estate includes several key points.
What Are the Standards?
Title III of the ADA prohibits public accommodations and commercial facilities, such as restaurants, stores, offices, and those operating in the real estate industry, from discriminating against those with disabilities. This often involves complying with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (SAD), which provides a framework for new construction and alterations to existing facilities that remove barriers that could prevent a disabled individual from accessing their goods or services.
How Is Real Estate Affected?
For those operating in real estate, the law and its requirements mean that they must modify their policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that their services and facilities are available to those with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations must be made, often at the agent’s or brokerage’s expense, to meet these needs. Examples would include the implementation of assistive-listening devices or materials printed in Braille.
Who Is Responsible?
The ADA also has a direct impact on housing and other leased arrangements. Under the law, both a tenant and the owner of public accommodations are subject to compliance and allocation of these responsibilities is often determined in the lease. However, even if a tenant is designated as the responsible party, if they fail to maintain compliance, the property owner may be held accountable.
When working with individuals with a disability, it is crucial to understand what unique needs must be met. This is the only way to truly understand what is necessary in order to provide reasonable accommodations. Individuals responsible for ensuring compliance should consult authoritative resources on this issue so that they know and can follow the legal requirements. A great deal of reliable information on the ADA can be found here.