D.B. from Kootenai County, Idaho writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Are condo complexes required to be ADA compliant?
Mister Condo replies:
D.B., great question! As you know, I am not an attorney so please consider my response as a friendly reply. You might want to seek out the advice of an attorney for a legal opinion on the matter. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)is designed to protect the rights of disabled folks and provide access to public places. Condominiums, in general, are private property, not open to the public and not specifically subject to all of the ADA guidelines all of the time. That doesn’t mean that condominium Boards can disregard the ADA because disabled unit owners have the right to request modifications to their homes and even the common areas that the Board must consider under the ADA guidelines. For instance, a unit owner with a disability might wish a designated parking space to be marked handicapped and for their specific use. The Board would have to consider that request and decide if they could reasonably accommodate the parking space. If they cannot provide reasonable accommodation, they elect to may deny the request. On the other hand, if a ramp were needed to the disabled unit owner’s unit, the Board would likely not be able to deny the request. Keep in mind that the modification is not a Board expense. The unit owner making the request may well have to foot the bill for making the modification. So, the answer is “yes” condominium complexes need to be ADA-compliant. However, they may have more wiggle room than a public building or business because of their nature as private property. All the best!