This bill clarified what constitutes a violation of reasonable accommodation requirements under the Fair Housing Act. While the required accommodations are not new, the modified structure of the bill clarifies that discriminatory intent is not required to establish unlawful housing discrimination.
The amendment went into effect on October 1, 2009.
The following are accommodations are required, under the old and new laws:
- Reasonable modifications to the existing premises that are to be occupied by a handicapped person must be allowed at his or her expense, if such modifications are needed to enable full enjoyment of the premises. However, when reasonable, the landlord of a rental property may require that the original condition be restored at the end of the lease term.
- Reasonable accommodations in policies, rules and practices must be made if they are necessary to the handicapped person's full and equal use and enjoyment of the dwelling.
- For covered multifamily dwellings first available for occupancy after March 31, 1999, there must be at least one accessible entrance to the building, unless it is impracticable to build one due to terrain or unusual site characteristics. Buildings required to have an accessible entrance are also subject to the following requirements:
- Public and common areas must be accessible and useable by handicapped persons
- There must be accessible routes into and through all dwelling units
- All doors must be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair
- Switches, outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls must be accessible
- Bathroom walls must be reinforced to allow for installation of grab bars
- Kitchens and bathrooms must have space to allow maneuvering in a wheelchair.