Welcome to "Home Sweet Home" on this cold, blistery day in January. This session is hosted by your regional Disability and Technical Assistance Center. We have two great speakers with us today. Kathy Gips is joining us from the Colorado Rockies.
And Gladys Sumbry is joining us from Washington, D.C., hi Gladys.
Hi there, Kathy and everyone.
This is a tricky topic we are going to talk about today, the interplay of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 and Fair Housing Act. Who is covered by what regulations. And how some of them are actually covered by both. We have some tricky questions that we occasionally get. For example, are condo associations covered, are homeowner''s associations covered? Maybe I want to rent an apartment and does the swimming pool need to be accessible? So we are hoping to touch on some of those topics today. Our first presenter, Kathy Gips is director of training at Adaptive Environments, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the inclusion and integration of people with disabilities in their communities. She provides technical assistance and training on the ADA, Section 504, and the Fair Housing Act and other disability laws. Kathy has over 15 years experience in the disability field. In addition to Kathy joining us is Gladys Sumbry. Gladys is the program analyst in the Program Compliance and Disability Rights Support DivisionOffice of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Gladys can you get that all on your business card?
Gladys joined HUD in 1966 and has held various positions throughout the department. The majority of her work focuses on disability rights laws. She provides technical assistance, conducts reviews on complaint cases appealed to the headquarters and contributes to policy development. So at this point I''m going to start it off by turning it over to Kathy to give us an overview. You did a great handout on the presentation and the points that you are going to cover. Just a reminder to folks that Kathy''s PowerPoint presentation is up on the Great Lakes web site at www.adagreatlakes.org and in addition to that being up on the web site the session is also being realtime captioned on the Great Lakes web site. So people can log in to see the captioning and to also ask on line questions. Kathy, thanks for joining us today.
Okay, you are welcome. Hello everybody. I hope you have all printed out the presentation outline from which was a Word document on the Great Lakes web site. It is the same text as the PowerPoint presentation. The stuff is kind of complicated so it is going to be a lot easier to follow along if you have it in print or in Braille or some other medium besides oral. Each of the slides and each of the points are numbered, so I''m going to mention the numbers as I go along. The first number is just my name is affiliation. I want to clarify that Adaptive Environments is actually in Boston, Massachusetts I happen to be in Colorado this week, I do normally work in Boston. The second item is all the laws that one needs to consider when trying to figure out what kind of access is required in housing and please keep in mind when I use the word access I''m using it in the broadest sense, architectural access of course, but also policies. So we are going to go through each of these laws. They include the Architectural Barriers Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the federal Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and your state or local law, which I''m obviously going to mention briefly. We will go through them in chronological order. Many of these laws as you know apply to a lot more than housing but we are just going to look at them through the lens of housing. The first law to consider because it is the first law really that went into effect is the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968. It basically said to the world or whatever, if you are constructing housing with federal money, you must be sure that some of it is accessible to peoples with disabilities. You can''t discriminate against people with disabilities. It applies to new construction and alteration. The current design standard is the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS ). Where to get all these things is listed on the housing resource sheet that is also up on the Great Lakes web site. So you can look at that later to figure out where to get all of these regulations that I''m going to be mentioning. Well that law is very nice but it really didn''t affect all that much. So the next law is broader and basically said if you are an agency or organization that is receiving federal money, not necessarily for construction but just sort of in general, you have got to make sure that you don''t discriminate against or exclude people with disabilities. That is Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973 as amended and it is been amended several times. I''m on item Number 4. Now item Number 5 talks a little bit about who is covered under Section 504. So 504 might apply to public housing authorities, that receive federal money. Usually their federal money is going to be from HUD, it could be cities and towns that are receiving community development block grants (CDBG) which is also HUD money or it could be other HUD money or other federal funds. It could be a private for profit or a nonprofit housing developer again, that is receiving federal funds. It could be college and university that is receiving federal funds. I think most of them or lots of them receive some money from the U.S. Department of Education or there might be even just school loans or research grants and that is going to affect dormitories and student and faculty housing. Or it could be any other agency or organization that is receiving any federal financial assistance. Item Number 6, Section 504 regulations. They are all similar but they are also somewhat unique. It is important that you look at the 504 regulations that are issued by the federal agency that has dispersed the funds. For instance, if you are talking about HUD money, you want to get the HUD regs if you are talking about Department of Education money, you want those regs. Health and Human Services, same thing. We could be talking about an organization or an agency that runs a group home or a shelter or a substance abuse kind of facility and that might very well be Health and Human Services money and not HUD or Education money. In terms of new construction and alterations, again, the current design standard is the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard. But it is very important to read both the regulation and the design standard. For instance, HUD 504 regs have their own scoping for housing. So HUD regs require that 5 percent of the units or at least one be accessible for people with mobility impairment and 2 percent or at least one of the units be accessible for people with hearing or vision impairments. You are not going to find that simply in UFAS , you will find that in the 504 regs. Sometimes you have to look at the regulations themselves for the scoping. Item Number 7, Section 504 went beyond new construction and alterations. In other words it broadened things both in terms of who it applies to, but also in terms of what it requires. Even though the term reasonable accommodation is used in the employment section, it is been used a lot by the courts and in fact it is used by HUD technical assistance material for sort of more general purposes having to do with the residence or potential residence of dwelling units. Here is a little clip from one of the technical assistance materials which basically says that if the family member requires an accessible feature or a policy modification to accommodate a disability, the recipient of federal money, in other words the landlord or whomever, must provide that unless it would result in a fundamental alteration or undue and financial burden. It could be something like somebody who is blind moves in to housing where the organization or agency is receiving federal money and they have a service animal. Maybe the landlord has a policy no animals, but they need to modify that policy for that person who is blind. It could be that the landlord has a policy that people have to take their own trash out to the dumpster. But because of the disability perhaps somebody is unable to do that. They would need to make that accommodation. It could be that somebody who is deaf needs visual alarm in their apartment and in the common areas. The landlord would need to provide that. So it really goes beyond new construction alteration. I''m on slide Number 8, HUD also talks about program accessibility. This again goes beyond new construction and alteration. And says that for existing housing, in other words for housing that was built before the regs even went into effect, the HUD regs went into effect in 1988, you have to make sure that the housing program is accessible and usable by people with disabilities when you look at it in its entirety. That might mean reassigning people to accessible buildings or actually having to alter existing facilities because you need to provide some measure of access access in housing. You have to give people a range of choice. You have to make sure that that choice is integrated. So that is 504 very broad applies if federal money is received by the agency or the organization or business. Now the federal Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988 really broadened things even more. Basically it said whether or not you are receiving federal money, if you are a private or public housing provider, you have got to make sure you are not discriminating against people with disabilities. The federal Fair Housing Act, is going to apply to apartments, condominium associations, cooperatives, dormitories, time sharing, mobile home parks. It is quite broad. HUD wrote Fair Housing Amendments Act final rule which is the regulations, and now I''m on slide Number 10. In terms of new construction, it applies when there are four or more units so this is a little more restrictive than 504 which applies no matter how many units there are. So new construction applies when there are four or more units. There are Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines and also ANSI is referenced as a design standard. It does not apply to alterations. This is sort of one of the bi- guess I consider it a loophole that if you have housing development, alterations, there is no federal money involved, there is not going to be any access requirements at all. The Fair Housing Amendments Act only applies to new construction and it also introduces a new concept. I think there was a recognition that people with disabilities didn''t neatly live in sort of 5 percent units and that there was a need for more general access. So it requires some minimum amount of access in just about all units that are newly constructed. There are various exemptions for example if there is no elevator, it is a townhouse, which could be the subject of another audio conference, because it is complicated. But it does introduce the new concept that not 5 percent but in fact just about all units if they are ground floor or if there is no elevator in the building, need to have some minimum amount of access requirements, those are specified in the Fair Housing Act accessibility guidelines. On to Number 11. The Fair Housing Amendments Act also allows people with disabilities to make reasonable modifications of their existing premises. This is structural. These are architectural changes or structural changes that one might need to make to the facility. Very different from 504. The landlord, the condo association, cooperative is not required to make or pay for those modifications. The law simply says you have to allow people with disabilities to make those modifications and you may require that the tenant restore the interior to the pre-modification condition. Item Number 12. There is also in the Fair Housing Amendments Act a requirement that reasonable accommodations, and they actually do use this term, it is about the only place in disability civil rights law where reasonable accommodation is actually used outside of employment, reasonable accommodations must be made to allow people with disabilities to use and enjoy a dwelling unit including public and common use areas. A reasonable accommodation ,we are not talking now about structural things, we are talking more about policies. It could be that same policy about a service animal for somebody who is blind or otherwise has a disability and needs a service animal. It could be a requirement, let us say the landlord or the condo association or the cooperative or whatever provides parking for tenants. Perhaps it is that this person with a disability get a parking space that is a designated space closer to the entrance. So that is going to apply to all sorts of policy things. That is the Fair Housing Amendments Act. Moving on to item Number 13. Because the the Fair Housing Amendment Act applies to housing and came out in 1988, when the Americans with Disabilities Act came up for discussion and was passed in 1990, the discussion was well, we already have a federal law that applies to housing. So we are really not going to include it to this same extent in the Americans with Disabilities Act. There is much more limited application of the ADA to housing because of the Fair Housing Amendment Act. Let us look first at Title II which is public entities. Which I hope you are all familiar with the ADA and Title II. That is going to apply to public housing authorities for sure and to any other state and local government housing. The regulations to look at are the the U.S. Department of Justice''s Title II regulations. Item Number 14. I hope that you are aware of sort of the basics of the Title II regs, one requirement-reasonable modifications of policies, requiring auxiliary aids and services, new construction alterations need to be accessible, the program accessibility concept was lifted right from section 504. And in addition one which you don''t find in Section 504 which requires maintenance of accessible features. This might includes lifts or elevators be maintained it might be include curb cuts be kept free of snow or ramps be kept free of snow or people not store paint cans in the accessible bathroom or whatever else we sometimes see. Number 15, the design standards for new construction and alterations under Title II are the ADA standards for accessible design or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. You won''t find a residential section in the ADA standards for accessible design. There is really not much there to hang your hat on if you are a state and local government agency and you are looking for some design standards. But UFAS is another option and it does have design standards for residential. So that is Title II. Title II is going to incorporate housing and very often when I get a call from a city that maybe is developing a housing program and they have got to make sure they are providing access, they are providing some percentage of units or even if it is private single family or whatever, they have got to make sure they have that program access concept when they are developing housing. Item 16. ADA Title III applies to the private sector, private entities. It does not apply to regular privately owned residential dwelling units. Again, the reason is because those were covered under the Fair Housing Act. It will apply if the residence is a place of public accommodation. Item Number 17, what residential facilities might be places of public accommodation? Well, nursing homes, retirement communities, group homes, assisted living housing, in other words it has got to fall into one of the 12 categories of public accommodations. Generally speaking, something like social services has to be provided. That is usually the big cut when you are talking about assisted living, which we are seeing a lot of development on that or talking about retirement communities or group homes, it is got to be a public accommodation in order for Title III to apply which means a certain level of social services has to be provided, like meals, transportation, recreation, medical care, something. School dormitories, of course are also going to fall under Title III, are going to be places of public accommodation because they are educational facilities or part of educational facility. Now on item 18. In addition to that, you may have what looks like sort of a normal residential facility where no social services are provided, but you might have swimming pool or recreation facility or function room that is open to the public. So those aspects of it, not the units themselves, not even necessarily the common areas where guests can go. But if you have a swimming pool or recreation facility or function rooms that is used by the public and the public means not tenants and their guests, but other folks, then those aspects of the facility, the project might be considered places of public accommodation. In addition to that, you have got to sales or the rental office which is open to the public. So those places are going to fall under Title III. Item Number 19, Title III regulations. Again this should be all familiar I hope to lots of you, reasonable accommodation of policies, auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, new construction alteration, readily achievable barrier removal for existing facilities, a slightly different standard than the program accessibility standard and again the maintenance of accessible features. Item Number 20, the new construction and alterations design standards is the ADA standards for accessible design. We don''t have the option of ADAAG or UFAS for the private sector. Then finally you really need to look at your state and local laws. They may have stricter requirements. For example I live in Massachusetts and we have a fair housing law that is really almost a duplicate of the federal law except it requires that private landlords make modifications to the apartment or the common areas if there are ten or more units even if no federal funds are involved. This is really quite substantial beyond what the federal law requires. That has created quite a bit of access in Massachusetts. So you may have a comparable state or municipal or county law in your area. That is sort of in a nutshell what you need to consider. I think Jennifer, we are now open for questions.
Let us go ahead and open it up to questions. Before we switch over to Gladys we''ll take a few to start with. I''m going to ask that site coordinators collect and prioritize the questions based on the topic or relevancy to the topic. Designate one person as the speaker to ask the question. If you are calling using a speaker phone preferably pick up the handset and ask the question from the handset or if possible, get as close to the microphone on the speaker phone as possible so that we can hear you and your call can be audible. I''m going to ask Michelle to come back and indicate to people how people queue in to ask their questions.
I''m going to turn this over to Jeff, who has a question. How are you doing? Jeff from the independent center in Norfolk. The question is a bit complex, unfortunately. If a individual was to purchase a house in the community setting where the company is building ten or more houses, modifications to that house should be paid by whom?
We are talking about single family development?
Yes. It is a company building ten or more complete houses in the community setting and you need modifications performed to that one house, you are going to purchase as and individual who pays for the modifications?
Is the developer receiving any federal money or not?
That I''m not sure of.
Okay. That might be critical. But assuming that the developer is not receiving federal money, that the developer is simply building like ten or 12 or whatever single family units, it is going to be a negotiation between the potential owner and the developer. There is not going to be any requirement that the developer provide any accessible features.
Thanks for your time.
Our next question from Linda of center for independent living.
Okay. I''m not Linda, but the question is: Who is responsible for making a basement to an apartment, as well homes around Harrisburg and Lebnon are popular, making apartments out of the bottom floor and the second floor. And the second floor has the attic and the first floor has the basement. So who is responsible for making the basement- fully finished off basement, mind you, accessible to a person with a disability? Which would involve putting in a stair master, stair glide, whatever.
Okay. Are we talking about single family homes or multiple family homes?
We are talking about a multiple family home.
We call them triple deckers, where three families might live?
Yes, only it is two. Two families within the building. And the rent for the individual is paid by section 8. So HUD approved it. And they got their own handicapped access program around Lebanon, Pennsylvania, as they chose to call it, who is responsible for making the changes that would allow me to get into my basement that I pay rent for? The rent, the basement has been included in the rent before I rented the apartment. It is a finished off basement. But HUD housing in its infinite wisdom, and their inspectors chose not to list it as living space. So the Lebanon handicapped access program will not make it accessible to me. Whose responsibility is that?
Let me understand. I might ask Gladys to pipe in here. You are receiving a section 8 voucher.
And this is a private landlord and it has been looked at by the HUD inspectors.
Gladys I might ask you to pipe in here. My sense is there is not going to be a requirement that the landlord make that accessible. I think it is going to be on you if you want it. But Gladys can you say anything here about section 8 if that is going to make a difference in terms of 504 obligation?
Right. You are right. It is not going to be at the expense of the private landlord. Okay? But whether or not it would be at your expense or at the expense of the public housing authority where you obtained the section 8 voucher, I would like to take down your name and number and get back to you on that. Okay?
We have an on line question here. Kathy, and Gladys I''m not sure which one might want to answer this, but this is from an individual that is a professional advocate with a federally funded state protection advocacy organization. Their question is is it possible to advocate to represent a consumer anonymously if violations can be documented? Maybe Gladys you are going to talk about this as far as the compliance process and is this something that people need to give their name or can they do that anonymously? How does that happen?
Yes. They may give their name anonymously. When a individual or a person representing a person with a disability and filing a complaint, they may keep the complainant''s name confidential. Okay. The only time we would use anyone''s name in a complaint process is when we are given permission to do so.
Hi. This is Sandy, I''m with Steve. I have a question on under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We are in rural Wisconsin and some of the counties we cover, I have had individuals come to me with complaints regarding apartments not being accessible for them. And public housing authority, you know, has looked at it but have not done much. But they have said that they do fall under Title II. I was under the impression that didn''t, now I read it is. They would have a complaint under HUD and Title II?
Right. Potentially if they are receiving federal money and I believe most public housing authorities do but maybe perhaps not all of them. If they are getting federal money from HUD they will have a complaint under Section 504 with HUD, if they are not, they are still a public entity and have an obligation under Title II. The scheme that the Department of Justice has come up with for Title II complaints is that it goes to the federal agency that sort of covers that area. So actually the complaint probably should just go to HUD.
That is what I was wondering, too. They did do that. Some things were being done. It is the subsidized housing we have in northern Wisconsin. It is HUD subsidized. He did the right thing going to HUD.
Yes, under both Title II and Section 504.
What are the obligations as far as time lines to ensure that accessibility needs are met for the individual?
Well, there aren''t any time lines. I mean there is nothing in the regs that say if you have got a request you need to respond within 60 days or 30 days. I mean there is sort of a reasonableness standard generally. But there is no time lines specified.
Okay. And if things aren''t done for an individual within a specified time, I mean for him or her to enjoy that apartment, is there something that can be done to ensure timeliness? I mean as far as an advocate.
You can always go right to court. With Title II and Section 504 you don''t have to go through an administrative complaint procedure, you can go to court. That is your most timely action. But other than that, it is just trying to get your regional 504 office, your regional HUD office. One thing I would suggest for all advocates, is meet with those folks, get to know those HUD folks, maybe invite them to a training or have a conference or something so you establish a relationship with them. Then when they do get complaints or if you are an advocate and you are filing a complaint on someone''s behalf you have already established a relationship with your regional office.
Thanks for your question. Kathy we will take one more question, do you think? Then turn over to Gladys.
In Chicago by the end of December, we had 22 inches of snow. It is interesting that I heard the speaker mention that the removal of snow would be covered under maintenance of accessible features. Could you elaborate on that.
Yes, I''m not sure how much more I can say except that Title II definitely recognized one thing lacking in Section 504 in other words when they wrote the regs, one thing lacking was people would do accessible things but it wouldn''t be maintained. Snow removal, ice removal, making sure the ramps and curbs are clear and all of that would be considered maintenance of accessible features.
We had an attorney that actually looked at that as an environmental impact versus something someone can control. You don''t have the same opinion?
I think it depends-I think yes, it depends on whether or not it can be controlled. Obviously, if I don''t know, you get a major ice storm and there is 15 inches of ice you can only do only do what is humanly possible. But I think given that you need to do what is humanly possible. If it is possible to have the snow blower come out or sprinkle salt or whatever one does when one clears walkways that is what should be done.
Thanks for your question, Martha, you may want to look at the Department of Justice web site as they do have a technical assistance letter specifically on that issue. I can tell that we have a lot of questions out there, so I''m going to stop here with questions in order that we can get to Gladys''s part of the presentation. And then hopefully open it up quickly again to get to more of the questions that are out there. Gladys if you could hop right in here and give us some perspective from HUD.
Okay, thank you Jennifer. Hello everyone. I''m pleased to join into this discussion with you on the HUD complaint process and procedures of the disability rights laws that Kathy has gone over with you. This will be a brief discussion of HUD complaint process and the conduct of compliance reviews of recipients of HUD financial assistance. While this discussion will primarily follow the complaint process and provisions of Section 504, I wish for you to keep in mind that the complaint procedure for compliance with the Fair Housing Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act are processed in a like manner when the complaints are received in the department. In fact, many disability rights complaints that are filed with the department are concurrently processed under all three laws. Now there are two primary means by which HUD effects compliance of its disability rights laws. One through the conduct of compliance reviews of HUD recipients. And two, through the conduct of complaint investigations. What is the compliance review? A compliance review is one that is conducted of HUD recipients to find out if they are operating their programs and services in a manner that does not discriminate against persons with disabilities. HUD makes every effort to work with recipients in obtaining voluntary compliance with the disability rights laws. Prior to the commencement of a compliance review, HUD provides notices to the recipient to let them know that staff is coming, when they are coming, and to have records, books and accounts available for review. How does HUD select recipients for review? Recipients are selected because of Number 1, the number of complaints that have been filed against them with the department. Or issues raised in a complaint or identified during a complaint investigation that could not be covered within the scope of the complaint investigation. Number 2, they are selected because the problems identified to the department by community organizations or advocacy groups that are familiar with actual incidents to support their concerns. Number 3, they are selected because the problems identified to the agency by other federal, state or local civil rights agencies. Number 4, they are selected because the problems identified to the department by the recipient themselves. Number 5, they are selected for a complains review because the problems identified through the news media, newspapers, radio, TV, all of these are reasons that a recipient may be targeted for a compliance review. Not all compliance reviews are conducted by staff in the department field offices across the United States. The department targets a certain number of complains reviews to be conducted by our field office staff each fiscal year. For fiscal year 2001 each of the ten field offices have targeted six recipients for complains reviews. Now about the complaint process. What is the complaint? A complaint is any communication alleging discrimination on the basis of disability and in some way asking for HUD''s assistance in resolving a problem. It may range from a verbal communication which is later put in writing to a complaint submitted in letter form or a HUD approved complaint form. Under section 504 and the ADA, a complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination unless the time limit is waived or good cause is shown. Under the Fair Housing Act a Fair Housing Act a complaint must be filed within one year after the alleged act has occurred. Who may file a complaint? Any individual who believes he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of disability his or her representative, or a member of a class of persons so situated, or the authorized representative of a member of that class may file a complaint with the department. A complaint may be filed with any of the HUD field offices in the United States as well as with the headquarters office in Washington, D.C. A complaint may also be filed on line at www.hud.gov/hdiscrim.htm What happens once HUD receives the complaint? HUD has to consider several factors in terming if it has jurisdiction to investigate a complaint. HUD must determine if the complainant or the person he or she represents is a person the law was designed to protect. In making this determination, the department must determine whether the individual or the person the individual represents is a person with a disability, as defined by the definition in the disability rights laws. An individual with disability means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment. Now after the department determines based on the definition of a person with disabilities, that the complainant has and is a person with disabilities, then the department must also determine if a individual is otherwise qualified for the program or activity alleged to have discriminated. For example, for most HUD assisted programs, an individual must have income below a certain level in order to be eligible. In some cases a disability may also be an eligibility factor. For example, if a housing program is set up under the department housing opportunity for persons with AIDS and the complainant''s only disability is a visual impairment, the person would not be qualified for the project because the project is designed to meet the needs of persons with AIDS. Therefore, HUD would lack jurisdiction to process this complaint under section 504. Another factor HUD must consider in determining jurisdiction under Section 504 is whether the alleged act of discrimination occurred in a program, service or activity that receives federal financial assistance from HUD for the period during which the act occurred. If both of these conditions are not met under Section 504, HUD must reject the complaint and notify the complainant and the recipient of that decision. For example, if a privately owned apartment building received HUD funds, only during the period from January 1989 to June, 1990, and the alleged act of discrimination occurred in February 1988, prior to 1989, HUD would lack jurisdiction. If HUD has jurisdiction over the case, then it will accept the complaint for investigation.
Gladys could we open it back up to questions? I''m sure there will be a lot more compliance questions there for you.
All right, fine.
My question is residential communities. Under section 504, retirement communities and assisted living housing. From what I''m understanding are they exempt from Section 504? Or is it only people in a retirement community would people with disabilities be included in that?
Yes. Whether or not there is an obligation under Section 504 is going to depends on whether or not that residential place is the retirement community or assisted living is receiving federal financial assistance. If it is not receiving federal financial assistance, there still may be an obligation under the Department of Justice''s Title III regulations. Depending on whether or not there are social services being provided and it is considered a public accommodation and not truly residential. Section 504 is only going to apply if federal money is going into that organization.
Kathy one of the ways that might be happening, they might be taking participants that receive Medicaid or Medicare, wouldn''t that be covered then?
If they are receiving Medicaid or Medicare, yes. But not just if the participants are getting Medicaid or Medicare.
This is from Options. I''m having a question about the review procedure. I have lodged a complaint with HUD in Denver on recommendation of the North Dakota Fair Housing Council. It is about companion animals not being allowed in the building but then being charged double deposit nonrefundable. After 100 days I received a letter saying well, the 100 days have expired and they have to investigate some more. And that was in October. Now I''m wondering how long of a time can I expect with this complaint?
Yes. You filed your complaint under the Fair Housing Act. And after 100 days if the department has not had an opportunity to investigate your case, then they are required by law to inform you. But how long it takes after that, I don''t know. Have you had a recent communication with that office? They probably have a backlog, but have you had a recent communication with that office to let you know when the investigation would start?
No, I have not. What I have received is a letter saying they have to speak with the parties involved. Which would involve the landlord or me. And nothing has happened to that effect. So I''m wondering, does it take a year?
Well normally it doesn''t. Jennifer, could you have her leave her name and telephone number with you and I will check on her complaint?
The question I have is-under Title III of the ADA, you said that sales and rental offices are included as places of public accommodation for like an apartment complex.
I''m thinking of a trailer complex one of the people we deal with, the rental office is not accessible.
Okay. One thing you have to consider, do you know when it was built? Or when it was established?
I could find out
Because Title III went into effect in 1992. So if it was from that time forward, it would need to be accessible under the new construction standard. If it was before 1992 it is considered an existing facility and it then has to make readily achievable barrier removal.
And that would mean if it is not a burden to the people that own the office? Undue hardship for them they have to make the accommodation?
It is actually a lower standard than undue hardship or undue burden. If things are easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense, they need to make that readily achievable barrier removal for existing facilities.
Okay. Thank you very much. New
In terms of handicapped parking and condo associations, you mentioned the fact they need to provide a closer space. Would there be any criteria that someone would need to provide to show they were in need of that or could they just identify themselves as a person with a disability and therefore be covered?
Well first of all just to clarify, if the condo association or whatever provides parking for all their tenants, A, and B, if it is not deeded parking, then yes, there would be a requirement. You are asking whether or not they can require documentation of the disability? Is that what you are asking?
Correct. For example we have a state program handicapped parking placard program would they be in line to require someone to provide that?
You are saying do they need to have your state placard in order to get handicapped parking? Gladys? Can you pipe in? This is a fair housing issue.
I''m not aware that that is the criteria. I believe all you would need to do is make the request. They could at the time that you make the request, require if your disability is not obvious, require documentation from someone who is in a professional capacity and would have knowledge of your disability. It could require you to have that person to provide clarification of your needs for the parking facility. But as far as require you to be registered with the state, I am not aware of that. But I will be happy to check it out for you, though.
Thanks, Gladys. We have time for one more question and then I will turn it back over to both Gladys and Kathy if they have brief closing comment for us.
Yes. My question is we know there are a lot of complications with differences between the various acts and bills. Can any of the speakers recommend ways that advocates could push for unified language in standards between the acts and bills or having one overriding housing bill?
It is not going to happen.
Why is that?
First of all, speaking off the record here, with a conservative congress I don''t think this is a good time to go back and ask them to look at civil rights laws. I think we sort of have to keep what we have got. And there is reasons I mean if you go through them from the beginning, there are reasons why they are the way they are and I think it is not going to happen.
We do want to point out HUD does have a great web site and a specific section on it when it comes to accessibility and protection of people with disabilities. So you will definitely want to check that out and that will also be posted on line with the transcript next week. I''ll turn it back over to Gladys first and then Kathy if you have a brief closing comment for us. I know we have had a lot of questions and I can tell that there are still a lot of questions out there, certainly people should consider contacting their regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center at 800-949-4232. Kathy also did an additional handout that has all of the field offices for HUD if you had more specific questions as well. So Gladys, I''ll turn it to you first.
Thank you very much. I would like to add to your comment there are a number of questions out there that still need to be answered and I will be more than happy to respond to any of those questions through Jennifer. Just send them to her and we will develop a question and answer session for you and get the information back to you. So I thank you for your participation and Kathy I thank you for having me to assist you.
Yes. Final comments, this is probably one of the more confusing part of disability civil rights. If you are confused it is not because we didn''t do a good job, it is because it is really confusing material. Only kidding there. But please do e-mail us, call us, and we will be glad to try to answer your questions. Do get friendly with your HUD regional office, those are critical folks when it comes to working out some of these 504 and fair housing and Title II pieces.
Great, thanks Kathy and Gladys so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us. It is exciting to have session where people do have so many questions. Hopefully we can have a follow up session on this topic. We hope to have participants and sites back next month for February. We actually have a bonus February, where we will have two sessions. Both sessions will be 90 minutes, the first session is February 20th it is called "What is wrong with this picture?" It is part of our architectural track where we will have consultant Mark Derry here and we will take a look at some of the common errors in interpretation of the accessibility standards. What kind of went wrong and how that could be fixed. In addition on February 27th we will also have a special session that is part of our general track the "ABCs of the Workforce Investment Act and the Work Incentives Improvement Act." So we look forward to having all of you back for those upcoming sessions and certainly you could see a complete list of the upcoming sessions on the Great Lakes web site. Thanks for joining us today.