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The Americans with Disabilities Act, called ADA for short, was signed into law in 1990 and states that individuals with disabilities must have equal access to public areas. According to experts, apartments and other rental properties fall into this category. Unfortunately, properties are not required to follow the standards when it comes to making dwelling units accessible- only for public areas.

This can be challenging for those who live in an apartment and want to stay there because the housing is not always adequately accessible. However, if you live in or near Columbia, SC, let Caring Healthcare help. We have been providing in-home care for the elderly, special needs children, and others who have additional needs due to an illness or disability. We can provide you with a variety of services to make life easier.

ADA Requirements for Apartments

According to the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, there are 7 design features that must be present for an apartment to be considered compliant. This applies to structures with ground floor units and elevators built after 1988. These structures are not required to be 100% compliant with these standards but must be adaptable.

7 Requirements

The 7 requirements to make units adaptable include:

  • Entrances that are accessible
  • Public use areas easily accessible
  • Doors that are usable
  • Access to/through covered dwellings
  • Electrical outlets, light switches, and thermostats that are easy to reach
  • Reinforced walls for installation of grab bars
  • Kitchens/bathrooms that are easily accessible

Which Properties Must Comply?

According to the FHA, these compliance standards apply to all units built after March 1991. These requirements must be followed in buildings with 4+ dwelling units and at least 1 elevator.

For larger buildings without an elevator, these standards are required for ground-floor apartments, as well as common areas.

In addition, these standards apply to:

  • Single-family homes with 4+ dwelling units
  • Any building with 4+ sleeping rooms with shared kitchen and bathroom
  • Townhouses
  • Carriage houses that are level with an accessible route
  • Unit with loft or raised/sunken living room

Verifying an Apartment for ADA Compliance

If you want to verify your apartment’s compliance with ADA standards, keep the following in mind:

Review floorplan: the floorplan should identify accessible routes to/from dwelling units, entryways, elevators, public areas, and stairways. Each element must be accurate with detailed measurements.

Assess outside: apartment buildings must be accessible from sidewalks and parking lots, including properly inclined ramps near the primary entrance. Parking spaces should be ADA-compliant, and large enough to accommodate a van with a wheelchair lift.

Address non-compliance areas: after assessing your property, including taking measurements, make a list of the actions required to bring the property into compliance.

Do You Need Home Care?

If you have a disability or illness and want to stay in your own home, consider Caring Healthcare. We have been serving the Columbia, SC area for more than 24 years. We offer a variety of care services including in-home care, special needs childcare, elderly care, and more. We are a local family-owned and operated service, and we only hire caregivers that we would trust with our own families. Schedule your consultation visit today and let us show you how we can help.