P.H. from Maryland writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a 16-unit condo. Our buildings were built in 1988. The doors need entrance lock replacement. Currently, the locks are of the knob variety. Does the ADA require us to replace with a specific lock, or can they be of the same current knob design? The current locks are a part of the original design of the building. Thank you!
Mister Condo replies:
P.H., the answer is that “it depends”. I am not an ADA expert so please consider this answer as friendly rather than legal. You may wish to get an opinion from HUD or your local ADA office for a more definitive answer. If the buildings are solely for the use of residents and you have no requests for accommodation from any of the unit owners, you may not have to consider the ADA guidelines when replacing handles and locks. If you have had requests from residents claiming the knobs are difficult for them to use based on a disability, you will want to strongly consider their request when making the replacement because the request seems reasonable and you wouldn’t want to have to defend the decision to not honor the request for such an inexpensive item. My friendly advice would be to look at the options of replacing the knobs with ADA-compliant handles and make the best business decision at that time. If the upgrade to ADA-compliant handles isn’t very expensive, I would strongly recommend you do it. It will prevent future problems with residents who might claim they needed such handles. All the best!