Late last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had reached a deal with the city of Memphis, Tennessee pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to improve physical accessibility for people with disabilities at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (the “Liberty Bowl”) which hosts various college football games.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement with Memphis, the Liberty Bowl will be required to install a total of 282 wheelchair spaces and an equal number of companion seats around the stadium at Row 25 and in the upper concourses on the home and away sides of the stadium.  These new wheelchair spaces will be spread out throughout the Liberty Bowl to provide those in wheelchairs similar lines of sight over spectators who may be standing that are comparable to those offered to individuals without disabilities.

As a part of the deal, the Liberty Bowl will be evaluated to ensure it is ADA compliant with respect to its concession stands, gates, elevators, suites, press boxes, ramps, and restrooms. Memphis also agreed that it would hire an architect to certify that each alleged ADA violation is corrected.  Although the DOJ did not file a formal complaint, the government pursued its own investigation.

While apartment communities do not typically fall under the exact same ADA requirements as do sports stadiums like the Liberty Bowl, what is important here is that we still must evaluate and respond to reasonable accommodation and reasonable modification requests from our residents with disabilities. Otherwise, you could find yourself subject to an investigation pursuant to the Fair Housing Act.

Just A Thought.