From: Dahako (
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 1998 07:55:15 -0500
Hi all - 

I hesitate to post this information, knowing how it can make certain
participants in this list irascible to the point of ranting (me included), but
I figure, in a case in which ignorance can cost you money, more information is
better than less.  I did not write these rules, and am currently trying to
help one of my client cities struggle with complying with them.  

The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 requires that covered multifamily
dwellings built for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, include certain
features of accessible design.  Covered multifamily dwellings are all units in
elevator-equipped buildings consisting of four or more dwelling units. For
multifamily buildings with four or more dwelling units but without an
elevator, only ground-floor units are covered.  This includes apartments,
condominiums, single-story townhouses, vacation time-sharing properties,
homeless shelters and other, similar residential buildings.

People involved with design and construction of residential housing are
responsible for complying with the law. Because these requirements spring from
a Federal anti-discrimination law, the penalties are Federal and pretty
expensive.  HUD has developed guidelines (not mandatory) to help those people
comply with the law.  For lawyers, this is called a "safe harbor" approach.

The Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines provide technical guidance on the
specific requirements stated in the Fair Housing Act, which are:

*an accessible building entrance on an accessible route.

*accessible and usable public and common use areas.

*doors designed to be usable by persons in wheelchairs.

*an accessible route into and through the covered dwelling unit.

*light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental
controls in accessible locations.

*reinforcements in bathroom walls for later installation of grab bars.  And

*kitchen and bathroom space organized so an individual in a wheelchair can
manuver about the space.

Other federal and state laws may apply to certain other housing, including
some rehabilitation projects.  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 may apply, as may state laws.
Local HUD offices (see the blue pages of your phone book or and
local government planning or housing or community development departments may
be able to help, as should architects, multifamily housing and community
facility builders, and, in some cases, public housing authorities.

For more information concerning the Fair Housing Amendments Act design and
construction requirements, contact the Fair Housing Information Clearinghouse
at 800-343-3442, TTY/TDD - 800-290-1617.  I'd ask for a publications list.
There are brochures and at least one really good technical construction guide.

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eno Commons Cohousing
Durham, NC
"The first home is getting siding, electrical rough-ins and HVAC this week.
The walls are up for the next foundation and the slab is imminent.  Three more
homes' footings have been poured and the wells are going in for the duplexed
homes that need vertical wells for the geothermal system.  (Pictures will be
on our web site soon.) Our community retreat at the beach was wonderful -
relaxing and productive - and we came back charged up.  Only seven more lots
available and we're looking for some good neighbors!  If you are a cohousing
fan and will be in NC, put May 3 on your calendar - we're having a Dancing on
Our Foundations party starting at 2pm that day."

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