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A person with a disability is defined as any person who:
  • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life functions;
  • has a record of such impairment; or
  • is regarded as having such impairment

What Is Fair Housing?

The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents of legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and disability. Additional protection for persons with disabilities is provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

What Is the Americans With Disabilities Act?

The ADA was signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and ensure they have access to the same opportunities as non-disabled people. The ADA offers protection in four major areas:
  • Employment
  • Public services
  • Public accommodations and services operated by private entities
  • Telecommunications

How Does the ADA Apply to Me?

If you have a physical or mental disability, your landlord may not:
  • Refuse to let you make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for you to use the housing. Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move.
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services if necessary for you to use the housing. For example, an apartment complex that offers unassigned parking must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant to have a reserved space near their apartment.
All new buildings under the ADA that are ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, and have an elevator in four or more units must also ensure:
  • Public areas are accessible to persons with disabilities
  • Doors and hallways are wide enough for wheelchairs
  • all units have an accessible route into and through the unit,
  • Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls are accessible
  • There are reinforcements in the bathroom walls to allow the later installation of grab bars
  • Kitchen and bathrooms are suitable for people who use wheelchairs.
If the building with four or more units does not have an elevator, the above standards apply to ground-floor units only.

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