Accessibility: Policy Issue


The apartment industry supports the goals of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is committed to creating communities that are accessible to people with disabilities. For practical guidance on these requirements, see HUD and DOJ’s Joint Statement or Fair Housing Accessibility First’s Frequently Asked Questions section.

man in wheelchair with arms out as though flying

NAA Position

Accessibility enforcement efforts should recognize compliance methods that address real-world conditions. The opportunity to cure alleged incidents of non-compliance supports the goals of both the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act by improving access for persons with disabilities.

As an Owner or Operator, How Does this Affect My Business?

The responsibilities of the apartment industry under the Acts sometimes require the inclusion of specific building design features. However, the complex and sometimes conflicting nature of guidance, building codes and statutory language have led to varying interpretations of design and construction compliance.

Apartment firms are further challenged by the failure of enforcement officials to recognize that existing standards and safe harbors represent just one way to make a property accessible. Research supports the use of alternative design and construction practices that promote usability and access for those with disabilities. These include the use of reasonable construction tolerances related to pathway site slopes, reach ranges in kitchens and bathrooms and site measurements. An acknowledgment of alternative approaches to compliance provides apartment owners and developers with the necessary flexibility to improve accessibility across the spectrum of unique apartment properties.

Conditions under which apartment firms currently operate can lead to allegations of non-compliance that result in litigation, significant unanticipated costs, operational barriers and other challenges.

Contact Information

To learn more about this issue, please contact NAA's Government Affairs team.

Purchase the NAA Accessible Design Toolkit

NAA Accessible Design and Construction Toolkit Now Available! This e-book informs industry professionals of their responsibilities according to fair housing laws which require rental housing providers to keep their physical properties accessible to disabled persons.

NOTE: You must create an account to purchase the toolkits. Click “Sign Up” on the Login Page and select the “Emotional Support Animal and Accessibility” User Group. When prompted to select your company, use the drop down menu to select your local apartment association or select NAA if you are not a member locally. Please be patient with us as NAA staff must approve every account. Our goal is a less than 24-hour turnaround.

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