Are my accommodations very accommodating?

Northeast ADA Center Staff June 16, 2016

standard hotel room bed

With summer vacations in our mind here at the Northeast ADA Center, it has got us thinking about hotels. More importantly it has us thinking about accessible hotels. While the original Americans with Disabilities Act used vague language around accessibility, the 2010 standards provided a level of detail that the original law did not. The Northeast ADA Center receives technical assistance calls from travelers as there is still a lot of information that the general public is unaware of regarding accessibility features in hotels. Below are some examples.

Question:
I reserved a hotel room with a tub and grab bars, but when I checked in to my room, I had a roll-in shower. Can a hotel change the kind of accessible accommodation from the one I reserved?
Answer:
Hotels and covered places of lodging under Title III must hold the specific accessible guest room requested for the customer and remove it from the reservation system. This is one of the changes of the revised Title III regulations from the Department of Justice regarding places of lodging that took effect March 15 2012. To learn more about the new requirements, visit the Northeast ADA Center's fact sheet on the revised lodging regulations here.


Question:
I have a service dog. I made a hotel reservation and told them I have a service dog. They said that was fine but they would have to charge me extra to cover the cost of extra cleaning after we check out. Can they do this?
Answer:
No. Places of lodging, as well as any other Title III place of public accommodation, cannot impose additional fees, surcharges, or request deposits because you are accompanied by a service animal. This also holds true for places of lodging who normally allow pets at an extra charge. Service animals are not pets, therefore you cannot be charged a pet fee. If your animal does any damage to the property then the hotel/business would have the right afterwards to charge you appropriate fees to cover the cost of the damage, if it is normally their policy to charge anyone who causes damage.


While these are just two examples of inquiry there are many others around bathroom access, pool access, parking, shuttle service, bed height and various other topics. While the ADA has not ruled on all of the issues it has provided clarification in many areas. So while you’re planning your trip this summer feel free to reach out to the Northeast ADA Center by calling 1-800-949-4232 or by emailing northeastada@cornell.edu.
To learn more about the 2010 Standards for hotels and resorts go here

From all of us at the Northeast ADA Center have a great summer!

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