Please click the following link if you are interested in joining the Thayer & Associates Team: Careers

green + white title graphic "Making Your Property Accessible"
May 20, 2024

Making Your Property Accessible

In both condos and apartments, owners and homeowner associations are responsible for making their properties accessible to all people. There is a responsibility to address all kinds of requests and grant them as long as they don’t burden your operations. Let’s take a look at how to best address making your property accessible whether you own an apartment or you are part of a condo association. 

What are the Disability Rights in Housing?

All fair housing laws in Massachusetts prohibit disability discrimination, requiring all properties to give individuals safety and enjoyment within their dwellings. Most public and private housing is covered under this law except for owner-occupied two-family dwellings.

According to fair housing laws, a person with a disability is defined as someone who has a physical or mental impairment and who has a record of said impairment.

Four Ways to Make Your Condo Accessible

To make your condo accessible for all individuals, it’s important to listen to the needs of your residents. However, here are four universal practices that would make your condo more accessible.

  • Construct wheelchair ramps outside all entrances
  • Making exceptions for no-animal policies to allow individuals to have service dogs or emotional support animals
  • Add accessible parking spaces that are close to the property
  • Include elevators on all floors
  • Add grab bars to bathroom showers and toilets
  • Install a visual fire alarm for tenants who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Assist applicants with cognitive disabilities with completing paperwork

Public housing entities are required to finance reasonable modifications based on disability needs. Private housing with ten or more units is also required to provide reasonable modifications. 

How to Accurately Modify the Accommodation Process

The individual who is asking for an accommodation or modification needs to request it verbally or in writing. Then, the housing provider is allowed to ask for confirmation from a medical professional that there is a link between the individual’s limitations and requests. Afterward, the housing provider will evaluate whether they can grant the accommodation or modification. In these instances, they should be on a case-by-case basis. There is always the ability to deny a request if it could lead to a financial burden or alteration of the provider’s operations. The provider should give clear decisions on the approval of the request, approval of an alternative, or denial of the request.

Keep in mind that these accommodations will only help individuals living on your property. Right now, accessible units are in high demand and short supply. It’s important to always make sure you are thinking about your tenants and residents when you make your decisions regarding accessibility. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *