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Are HOAs required to ensure ADA compliance?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2024 | Real Estate Law

Homeowner associations (HOAs) are organizations made up of individuals who own homes in communities. These associations make and enforce rules that maintain communities and provide amenities. Members, on the other hand, pay HOA fees.

Few endeavors are as rewarding as making a community livable for its members. But this assignment comes with its share of responsibilities as well. If things go wrong, an HOA may face the wrath of its members. And in the worst-case scenario, an HOA might find itself dealing with court battles – especially when there is a violation of the state or federal law. For example, a member could sue an HOA for non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Public accommodations, private homes

Are HOAs required to ensure that communities are ADA-compliant?

Per ADA stipulations, every public facility is required to provide reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. The ADA applies to “public accommodations.” Homes are generally private. However, there are ways in which the usage of spaces like common areas can transform certain areas into “public spaces” that are subject to ADA compliance requirements.

For instance, if a community has facilities that allow members to hold meetings, then such areas would have to be ADA-compliant. Likewise, any office in the community that is open to the public must be ADA-compliant as well. Recreational facilities like gyms, pools and sports courts too need to be ADA-compliant even if their use is restricted to members only. This is especially important if there is no clear signage identifying such facilities as strictly private.

Protecting your HOA

ADA compliance is a tricky subject for most HOAs. Unfortunately, overlooking ADA stipulations can put your association in hot water, especially if a member claims that you have not provided reasonable accommodation for them. Understanding your legal obligations as a HOA board member or administrator can help you safeguard your interests while creating an ADA-compliant community.