The Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Accessible Parking

Northeast ADA Center Staff March 17, 2016

This week we turn to accessible parking in residential sites. We receive a number of calls about accessible parking in housing settings, like apartments and condos, so this week we wanted to highlight the accessible parking requirements and regulations in the FHA, as they differ from what is required on a site that is regulated by ADA Standards. The first thing I will mention is that the ADA rarely applies to parking areas for residents in housing sites, unless the site falls under Title II of the ADA (state and local government funding is involved in the project).  The ADA will however apply to a parking area on a residential site that is considered a place of public accommodation(i.e. a leasing office in an apartment complex or another space open to the public). If a place of public accommodation is located on a residential site, like a leasing office, the parking area that serves the leasing office is required to comply with the ADA Standards for parking. For both public and privately owned and developed sites, like apartments and condos, FHA likely applies. The FHA accessibility guidelines apply to sites that contain buildings consisting of four or more dwelling units if the buildings have one or more elevators; and ground floor dwelling units in other buildings consisting of four or more dwelling units.  To learn more about when the FHA applies to a site, you can visit HUD’s website here: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/disabilities/fhguidelines/fhefha5 FHA’s design and construction requirements state that a minimum of two percent of the number of parking spaces serving covered dwelling units (units that must comply with the FHA) must be made accessible and they must be located on an accessible route. Additionally, if different types of parking are offered, i.e. surface parking, garage parking, or covered parking spaces, a sufficient number of each type must be made accessible, in order to provide parking options for residents with disabilities. While the total number of spaces required to be accessible is only two percent, at least one space for each type of parking must be made accessible, even if this number exceeds two percent. To read more on this topic, you can visit the Fair Housing Act Design Manual, page 2.23 via this link: https://www.huduser.gov/publications/pdf/fairhousing/fairch2.pdf It is important to note that in addition to the design and construction requirements for accessible parking above, the FHA requires that landlords and owners make what are known as reasonable accommodations for residents with disabilities.  A classic example of a reasonable accommodation is a need for parking space that is located closest to a resident’s unit entrance. You have a right under the FHA to file a request for a reasonable accommodation in the form of a reserved parking space with your landlord, if needed because of your disability. You can read more about the Reasonable Accommodation process here: http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/library/huddojstatement.pdf.   Should you have any questions about accessible parking, or other physical accessibility requirements, feel free to contact the Northeast ADA Center at 800.949.4232 or northeastada@cornell.edu.  Or visit us at NortheastADA.org

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