The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to residential and commercial properties, more specifically the portions of them that are open to the public. That means that landlords must make reasonable accommodations to render the property more accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Making these accommodations might require you to change your policies and practices, or it might require physical modification of your building. In the end, the goal of the ADA is to ensure that disabled individuals enjoy an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the property.
Do you have to comply with every reasonable accommodation request?
Not necessarily. Although most requests must be accommodated, it’s worth checking to see if your property is exempt from these federal rules. That’s a very narrow exception, but you also might be able to deny a reasonable accommodation request if it creates an undue financial hardship. Just keep in mind, though, that if you own an apartment building, then you might also be subjected to the Fair Housing Amendments Act, which requires many apartments to ensure that ground-level units are easily modifiable by those who have a disability.
What constitutes an undue financial hardship?
The financial hardship assessment in an ADA case is going to be fact-specific. In that analysis, the financial resources of the business or property owner in question will be assessed in light of the costs of the requested accommodation. Before outright denying a reasonable accommodation request, though, it’s a good idea to see if you can negotiate with the requesting party to find a cheaper alternative.
Do you need help dealing with your ADA compliance issues?
If so, then you can find relief by more fully educating yourself on the ADA requirements and how they apply to your set of circumstances. We know this area of the law, especially in regard to how it interplays with commercial real estate, is complicated, which is why it might be a good idea to touch base with someone who is experienced in handling these sorts of issues.