“Every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom.” – George H. W. Bush.
In 1990 The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed and former President #41 opened doors and opportunities that were once barriers to those who had special needs and needed different accommodations to access the things we are able to everyday. Things we may take for granted.
So what does this mean when you enter the real estate market? Well for starters, it’s complicated, but here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- If you’re building a brand-new single family home, you can ask the builder to widen entry doors, hall corridors, add safety railings in bathrooms and widen the bathrooms to make them more accessible. It is possible there could be additional fees, ask your specific builder about that. If you’re building, certainly build to your needs, but keep in mind resale when picking specific changes.
- If you’re purchasing a brand-new townhome, the builder is not required to put in an elevator if none of the other units have elevators, but you can ask for some of the items mentioned above. If an elevator is necessary, see if the builder can working with you and be prepared to cover the cost of an elevator. Residential elevators can run anywhere from $13K-$25K. Elevators have options too!
- If you’re buying or renting an existing property, the owner doesn’t have to make any changes to comply with ADA.
- As stated on the ADATA.org site, “It is unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing to an individual with a disability because of the disability. It is important to note that the Fair Housing Act requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations to their policies so that people with disabilities have equal housing opportunities and to permit people with disabilities to make reasonable modifications to their units or common areas.”
- What are reasonable accommodations? When leasing, accommodations can include allowing service animals and emotional support animals, allowing any person with a disability to put a ramp in, incur the cost, and put it back to its original condition when the lease agreement expires.
There’s a lot to navigate when it comes to receiving equal access for those with disabilities. Not only do I understand this as a Realtor, but I’m keenly aware of it as a mom to a beautiful little girl who is differently abled. I love working with the community of people who have disabilities that they are overcoming, because I understand the struggle. I’m always ready to help those pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom.
Contact me for today if I can be of assistance!