Several laws have been established over the years to protect the rights of disabled and handicapped individuals, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA). Both public and private facilities must adhere to these rules and make modifications and/or improvements to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
A common question that HOA board members have is what the HOA’s responsibility is for adhering to these laws. Our residential property management company can offer your HOA some valuable insight in this area:
To be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
It’s important to note that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) only applies to public accommodations. If your HOA is responsible for a facility that is open to the general public–not just HOA members and their guests–you must comply with the ADA requirements. An HOA that allows the general public to buy membership passes to your pool or maintains an onsite rental office that receives regular visits from the general public must comply with the specific use and construction requirements of the ADA.
To be in compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA):
The Federal Fair Housing Act (FFHA) is similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); however, the differences that HOAs need to take note of applies directly to housing facilities. The FFHA does not allow an HOA to restrict reasonable accommodations that would prevent a disabled homeowner from fully enjoying the use of his or her property. For example, if an HOA has a no pet policy, an exception could be made for a disabled homeowner that requires the assistance of a service dog. The disabled homeowner should also be allowed to make reasonable modifications to his or her own unit and/or common areas. If the HOA is to restrict reasonable modifications and exceptions to policy, it would be deemed as discrimination under the FFHA.
Fully understanding your HOA’s responsibility to disabled and handicapped residents under laws such as the ADA and FFHA can be challenging as there are exceptions to these rules. This is why it’s to your advantage to partner with an experienced residential property management company like Vesta Property Services to ensure compliance and protect the best interests of your HOA. To learn more about how your HOA can comply with the regulations outlined in the ADA and FFHA, please contact us at Vesta Property Services.