An Expertise to address the Complexities of Compliance
Industries Proudly Served
85 million Americans have disabilities.
High Speed ADA Barrier Survey
CSA recommends that every business or commercial facility owner should at the very least…
Standard ADA Architectural Barrier Servey
CSA provides a Standard ADA architectural barrier survey that includes documenting each existing noncompliant condition.
Our Accessibility Survey Report provides much more than just listing items that are out of compliance.
ADA / FHA Litigation Consulting
Lawsuits and complaints can be very costly if not handled promptly and cost effectively.
CSA can perform training of key staff to help ensure compliant design, construction, renovation, and barrier…
ADA/FHA Plan Reviews
CSA can provide Accessibility plan reviews for remodeling, updates or new construction.
ADA Policies Review and Self-Evaluation
We help public entities take a proactive approach to ADA compliance.
“Pre-sale” Property Inspections and Post Construction Inspections
We will inspect property on behalf of the buyer/seller as part of the required due diligence …
The Fair Housing Act was first passed in 1968, shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and it prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin. Discrimination based on sex was added in 1974. When the law was comprehensively amended in 1988, it was changed to include discrimination against people because of disability and because of familial status – the presence of children under the age of 18.
The Fair Housing Act is enforced administratively by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). People who believe that they have been harmed by a violation of the Act may file administrative complaints with HUD, and HUD conducts an impartial investigation of the claims.
The Act also authorizes federal lawsuits by the U.S. Department of Justice, and private lawsuits that can be filed in federal or state courts by individuals. Many state and local fair housing enforcement agencies also have authority to investigate violations and bring enforcement actions. The general authority for all of these enforcement activities is found in the Fair Housing Act. So the enforcement authority given under the Act is quite broad.
Where violations of the law are established, remedies under the Fair Housing Act may include the award of compensatory damages to victims of discrimination, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, orders for comprehensive corrective action, and awards of punitive damages to victims or civil penalties to the government. In design and construction cases, remedies also may require retrofitting housing that has already been constructed to make it comply with the Act’s design and construction requirements.
In order to be in compliance with the Fair Housing Act, there are seven basic design and construction requirements that must be met. These requirements are:
Requirement 1. An accessible building entrance on an accessible route.
All covered multifamily dwellings must have at least one accessible building entrance on an accessible route unless it is impractical to do so because of the terrain or unusual characteristics of the site.
- An accessible route means a continuous, unobstructed path connecting accessible elements and spaces within a building or site that can be negotiated by a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair, and that is also safe for and usable by people with other disabilities.
- An accessible entrance is a building entrance connected by an accessible route to public transit stops, accessible parking and passenger loading zones, or public streets and sidewalks.
Requirement 2. Accessible public and common use areas.
Covered housing must have accessible and usable public and common-use areas. Public and common-use areas cover all parts of the housing outside individual units. They include — for example — building-wide fire alarms, parking lots, storage areas, indoor and outdoor recreational areas, lobbies, mailrooms and mailboxes, and laundry areas.
Requirement 3. Usable doors (usable by a person in a wheelchair).
All doors that allow passage into and within all premises must be wide enough to allow passage by persons using wheelchairs.
Requirement 4. Accessible route into and through the dwelling unit.
There must be an accessible route into and through each covered unit.
Requirement 5. Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations.
Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls must be inaccessible locations.
Requirement 6. Reinforced walls in bathrooms for later installation of grab bars.
Reinforcements in bathroom walls must be installed, so that grab bars can be added when needed. The law does not require installation of grab bars in bathrooms.
Requirement 7. Usable kitchens and bathrooms.
Kitchens and bathrooms must be usable – that is, designed and constructed so an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver in the space provided.
Who can be sued for violations of the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act?
The following persons and entities may be sued:
- Any person or entity involved in the design and construction of the building may be held liable for violations of the Act.
- A later owner of a building may be held liable if the later owner makes structural changes so that the building does not meet the access requirements.
- A person or entity that has bought a building or property after it was designed and constructed may be sued when that person or entity is necessary to provide authority to remedy violations.
Individual owners or occupants of inaccessible units who were not involved in building, developing, or managing them, and who own only individual units will not be named in HUD complaints.
If builders, architects, developers or others believe that a property with which they were involved is covered by the Fair Housing Act’s design and construction requirements but does not comply with them, what can they do?
They should seek technical assistance from a consultant with expertise in the Fair Housing Act’s design and construction requirements