Edited By Rachel Z. Azoff
Meeting the accessible design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act can be easier said than done. Unfortunately, many developers don't realize they are in noncompliance until they receive a complaint or-even worse-news of a lawsuit.
"Understanding and implementing the requirements of the FHA, from design through construction, is critical to protect yourself," says Douglas J. Anderson, a partner with Chicago-based LCM Architects. "Accessibility is often measured in inches-and sometimes to a quarter of an inch. Careful attention to detail can mean the difference between FHA compliance and an FHA lawsuit."
Here, Anderson offers his list of 10 areas of common misconception when it comes to FHA design and construction.
1. State and Local Code Compliance
Many designers or owners assume that if they are in compliance with state and/or local codes, they automatically meet or exceed HUD's fair housing requirements. In general, most state or local codes do not meet or exceed HUD's interpretation of the FHA requirements in all areas, and the issuance of a permit or certificate of occupancy for state or local codes provides no assurance that the development meets the FHA requirements.
2. FHA Covered Units
For a typical site, the law applies to all ground-floor units in multifamily walk-up buildings with four or more units and all units in multifamily elevator buildings with four or more units.
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