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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 35321
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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I recently moved into a new condo building in which a fob is

Customer Question

I recently moved into a new condo building in which a fob is required to enter the residence. I'm a quadriplegic so I can't even reach the height in which they have the fob by the main doors. There's an underground secured parking garage that recently put in a handicap accessible door with a low fob, which was very helpful. However, the main doors to get in and out of the building on the residential side do not have a low fob or a handicap button. Therefore if I go down the elevator in my wheelchair there is no way for me to get out of the building independently. I would also be unable to get back into the building independently for the same reason. I wanted to know what the ADA laws are about this and if it is something they need to accommodate for since I am a resident and purchased a condo in the building? I Appreciate some guidance about this issue... thank you, Natalie
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 5 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to all housing, with a few exceptions, as well as to rental offices, sales offices in model homes, and homes associated with day care operations. So if there is not reasonable access to the property, the owners could be compelled to provide it.

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The Fair Housing Act includes design and construction requirements for certain types of buildings to insure access for people with disabilities. For example, any private or public building with four or more dwelling units and an elevator, constructed for first-time use after March 13, 1991, must have: an accessible entrance/exit route; accessible and usable public and common areas; usable doors; accessible routes into and through units of the building; placement of light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other controls at certain heights so as to be reachable by a person in a wheelchair; reinforced walls in bathrooms to allow for installation of grab bars; and usable kitchens and bathrooms.

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These requirements also apply to any new additions of four or more units on any building originally built before March 13, 1991. If housing was built before 1991, landlords must allow residents with disabilities who wish to renovate or change their units to do so. However, residents must pay for any modifications and may also be required to pay for removing the modifications and restoring the unit to its original state, if the building owner requests it.

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So assuming that the building was built before 1991, then the FHA wouldn't force the landlord to make changes, but the ADA would.

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Typically if someone contacts the local Legal Aid office or a local civil rights or disability rights attorney, they can send a letter to the owner and management basically threatening to sue them in federal court if they don't make modifications to the property so that you are able to easily access it.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
To help you research this, the building is quite old but was renovated after 1991. It is a multipurpose building with hotel, attorney offices, & the top 3 floors are condos. My unit was just an empty shell so I was able to modify it anyway that I wanted from scratch. The only problem I have is just being able to get in and out of the doors independently. In my opinion it is dangerous for me not to be able to get out of this building in an emergency if I needed to. I wasn't sure what type of attorney could assist me on this, but I would like to present it to the master condominium board at their next meeting October 25th with all the proper documents and information I could to thoroughly present my case.
Expert:  Barrister replied 5 months ago.

Were you not able to view my response above as I think I addressed your concerns in my answer?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Not exactly, all you stated in regard to a building built before 1991 was about renovations or modifications to the actual unit but nothing about accessibility in or out of the building. You only briefly mentioned about entrance/exit of the building being required if that building was built after 1991
Expert:  Barrister replied 5 months ago.

Right, that refers to the FHA, not the ADA.... The ADA applies regardless of when the property was built..

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So if it had a major rehab after 1991, then both the FHA and the ADA apply and both could be cited as owner violations of your right to access in any letter to the owner/management threatening legal action.

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As for an attorney, this is the type of thing that the local Legal Aid office specialized in dealing with and they may be able to help you and send out a letter at no cost to you. Otherwise they might be able to refer you to a pro bono or low cost civil rights or disability law attorney who could help..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** think I should start with the legal aid office first prior to reaching out to a civil rights or disability rights attorney? And then I can go from there ...
Expert:  Barrister replied 5 months ago.

so you think I should start with the legal aid office first prior to reaching out to a civil rights or disability rights attorney?

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Definitely...they deal with things like this on a daily basis and probably have a template nasty threat letter already they can just fill in with your facts and then send it out at no cost to you..

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thanks

Barrister