Just yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issues new guidance which reaffirms that the Fair Housing Act’s (FHA’s) requirement that multifamily housing be designed and constructed so as to be accessible to persons with disabilities.

An important part of our FHA, of course, mandates that multifamily housing with four or more units, built for first occupancy after March 1991, contain accessible features for individuals with disabilities.

As provided for in the FHA and explained in the guidance issued yesterday, new multifamily housing must include:

        Public and common use areas that are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; and

         Doors that are designed to allow passage into and within all premises of covered dwellings and that are sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons with disabilities, including persons who use wheelchairs.

In addition, all premises within covered dwellings must contain:

          An accessible route into and through the dwelling unit;

          Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls in accessible locations;

          Reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow the later installation of grab bars;

          Usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual using a wheelchair can maneuver about and use the space.

Importantly, the guidance also contains an explanation of the safe harbors that are available in the law to assist architects, builders, owners, and professional apartment management companies.You can take a look at the guidance here .

Just A Thought.