The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law tat prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Title II of the ADA specifically prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of disability. This means that landlords, property managers, and other housing providers must make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and ensure that their housing practices are accessible and non-discriminatory.
What Constitutes a Violation of Title II of the ADA?
There are several types of violations that may occur under Title II of the ADA in the context of housing discrimination. Some common examples include:
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom or allowing a service animal in a no-pets building.
- Denying housing to individuals with disabilities, or treating them differently from other prospective tenants.
- Failing to design and construct new housing developments in accordance with the accessibility requirements of the ADA.
- Failing to make existing housing accessible to individuals with disabilities, such as by failing to remove architectural barriers.
Remedies for Violations of Title II of the ADA
Individuals who have experienced housing discrimination in violation of Title II of the ADA may have a number of legal remedies available to them. Some of the most common remedies include:
- Filing a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
- Filing a private lawsuit in federal court against the housing provider.
- Seeking monetary damages, such as compensation for harm suffered as a result of the discrimination.
- Obtaining injunctive relief, such as an order requiring the housing provider to make the necessary changes to their practices.
City Planning Boards and Building Permits: The ADA and Discrimination
City planning boards and building permit offices play a critical role in ensuring that new housing developments are accessible and non-discriminatory for individuals with disabilities. Under Title II, these entities must ensure that all new housing developments are constructed in complance with the accessibility requirements of the ADA. This includes requirements related to the design of public and common areas, as well as individual dwelling units.
Building permit offices must also ensure that any modifications or renovations to existing housing developments are also in compliance with the ADA. This may involve requiring that landlords or property managers make necessary changes to the physical structure of the building, such as removing architectural barriers, adding ramps, or allowing service animals on the premises.
In addition to ensuring ADA compliance, city planning boards and building permit offices must also ensure that their own practices and policies are non-discriminatory for individuals with disabilities. This may include ensuring that their offices and meeting spaces are accessible, providing alternative formats for information and materials, and ensuring that their application processes are accessible.
Speak With an Attorney
Housing discrimination on the basis of disability is illegal under Title II of the ADA. It is important for you to be aware of your rights and to take action if you believe you have been a victim of discrimination that violates the ADA. Whether you are seeking to file a complaint with a government agency, file a private lawsuit, or simply understand your rights, it is advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.