HOA Case Law: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), found under 42 U.S.C § 12101, et. seq is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.

The ADA impacts the operations of homeowners associations with common elements open to the general public and prohibits discrimination against disabled persons in: employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to government programs and services.

While large associations may also be ADA-regulated as an employer, “public accommodations” is the most relevant activity for an HOA association.

Title III – Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities

✔️Prohibits places of public accommodation from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Public accommodations include privately owned, leased or operated facilities like hotels, restaurants, retail merchants, doctor’s offices, golf courses, private schools, day care centers, health clubs, sports stadiums, movie theaters, and so on.

✔️Sets the minimum standards for accessibility for alterations and new construction of commercial facilities and privately owned public accommodations. It also requires public accommodations to remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense.

✔️Directs businesses to make “reasonable modifications” to their usual ways of doing things when serving people with disabilities.

✔️Requires that businesses take steps necessary to communicate effectively with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities.

✔️Regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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