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Accessibility Requirements for Buildings

The following provides information on the housing accessibility requirements for both private and Federally assisted housing.

  • Accessibility Requirements for Multifamily Housing: Both privately owned and publicly assisted housing, regardless of whether they are rental or for sale units, must meet the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act when they are located in a building of four or more units, built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. To help builders comply with these requirements, HUD issued in 1991 its Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines. In 1994, the Department responded to questions on the Guidelines by issuing a Question and Answer Supplement to the Guidelines. In 1996, HUD provided further guidance on ways to design and construct housing that complies with the Fair Housing Act by issuing the Fair Housing Act Design Manual, which is filled with detailed illustrations and sample room designs. HUD has designated the Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines, when used in conjunction with the Question and Answer Supplement, the Fair Housing Act Design Manual, and five other documents as safe harbors for compliance with the Fair Housing Act accessibility requirements. For more information on the requirements and the seven safe harbors for compliance, visit Fair Housing Accessibility, FIRST.

  • Accessibility Requirements for Federally Assisted Housing: All Federally assisted new construction housing developments with 5 or more units must design and construct 5 percent of the dwelling units, or at least one unit, whichever is greater, to be accessible for persons with mobility disabilities. These units must be constructed in accordance with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) or a standard that is equivalent or stricter. An additional 2 percent of the dwelling units, or at least one unit, whichever is greater, must be accessible for persons with hearing or visual disabilities. For more information on the accessibility requirements for Federally assisted new construction and substantial alterations of existing Federally assisted housing, see Section 504: Disability Rights in HUD Programs.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): The ADA primarily deals with accessibility of public facilities such as restaurants, hotels, and parks. With respect to housing accessibility, Title II of the ADA covers housing provided by public entities (state and local governments), such as housing on a State university campus. Title III requires that public and common use areas at housing developments are accessible. Please visit the Department of Justice ADA home page for more information on the ADA.

The following provides information on the obligation of HUD programs to comply with applicable accessibility requirements, as well as information on government resources for funding building modifications.

  • Community Planning and Development Notice: Affirmatively Further Fair Housing and the Accessibility Requirements of the Fair Housing Act