WHAT DO PROPERTY MANAGERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ADA COMPLIANCE?

What Do Property Managers Need to Know About ADA Compliance?

26 February 2022 By Admin

If you are a property manager for an apartment building or other residential community, it is important to have at least some understanding of ADA guidelines and how they apply to your property. The Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as the ADA, was established in 1990 to make it easier for disabled people to access the same public buildings as their non-disabled peers.

In accordance with the ADA, apartments and residential communities built both before and after the introduction of the law must meet specific guidelines to ensure disabled access to all public areas, including common areas, event spaces, public restrooms, and rental offices. The guidelines are extensive, and you would not be expected to know them all, but ignorance of the law will not offer any protection in the event of an ADA lawsuit. That's why you should work with a local ADA concrete contractor who can help you to evaluate your current ADA compliance and remove any barriers that would violate the ADA.

Who is Protected by the ADA?

One of the things that a property manager does need to know is who is actually protected by the ADA. It covers anyone who is disabled, but that is a broad term that can cover all manner of disabilities, some of which may not be immediately apparent. As a property manager, you are not allowed to directly question the nature or extent of an individual's disability. However, the ADA considers disability to be a mental or physical disorder that substantially limits life activities. This might include:

  • Mental Illness
  • Visual Impairment
  • Mobility Impairment
  • Noncontagious Diseases

Reasonable Accommodations Property Managers Should Make

All tenants need to experience the same benefits of living in your property. That may mean making some reasonable accommodations for disabled tenants. What exactly are reasonable accommodations? In simple terms, it means allowing minor changes to rules and regulations to allow disabled tenants equal access to facilities. Some examples might include allowing a service animal in a 'no pets' apartment complex or allowing a disabled tenant to have a non-resident use the resident's only laundry to help them wash their clothes as they cannot do it alone. These are adjustments that a property manager will be able to implement themselves without needing help from an ADA concrete contractor.

Who is Responsible for Modifications?

Aside from these reasonable accommodations, you may also need to make some more structural modifications to be ADA compliant. The property owner is responsible for the cost and facilitation of these changes. This might include installing an access ramp at the main entrance, providing accessible parking spaces, or adding handrails. This is when you need to consult an ADA concrete contractor to make sure you are carrying out the correct modifications and that they meet the appropriate ADA guidelines. There is no margin for error when it comes to ADA accessibility; even a few mm is the difference between being compliant versus facing a federal lawsuit. Some of the common areas that an ADA concrete contractor may highlight as potential barriers to ADA compliance might include:

  • Sidewalks
  • Ramps
  • Doorways
  • Access Routes
  • Parking Lots

Older Buildings Are Not Exempt From the ADA

There seems to be a popular myth that buildings older than 1990 and historic properties are exempt from following ADA guidelines. This is not the case; all buildings are required to ensure public spaces are accessible to everyone! This misconception probably stems from the fact that buildings built or renovated after 1990 face stricter ADA regulations.

ADA Compliance Made Easy

ADA compliance does not have to be complicated. As long as you have some understanding of how to make reasonable adjustments for disabled tenants, you will be able to keep everyone happy. However, it is also essential to make sure that the property's exterior is fully ADA compliant, and the best way to achieve this is work with an ADA concrete contractor to remove barriers to accessibility.

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