The Fair Housing Act is a US federal law that applies to most multifamily dwelling units built since March of 1991.  The Act requires all covered multifamily units – including apartments,  condominiums, assisted living units, time-share/vacation units, public housing, dormitory rooms, and hospice facilities – to be accessible and usable by people with disabilities.

This includes:

  • All dwelling units in multi-story buildings with 4 or more units and an elevator
  • Ground-floor units in buildings with 4 or more dwelling units, without an elevator

There are 7 basic access requirements of the Fair Housing Act:

  • Requirement 1. An accessible building entrance on an accessible route.
  • Requirement 2. Accessible common and public use areas.
  • Requirement 3. Usable doors (usable by a person in a wheelchair).
  • Requirement 4. Accessible route into and through the dwelling unit.
  • Requirement 5. Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations.
  • Requirement 6. Reinforced walls in bathrooms for later installation of grab bars.
  • Requirement 7. Usable kitchens and bathrooms.

To learn more about the Fair Housing Act:

After reviewing these materials, proceed to the review questions below.


Review Questions

1. The Fair Housing Act would apply to which of the following multi-family buildings, built in 2000?

  1. Graduate student housing with 6 dwelling units per pod
  2. High-rise condominiums sold to individual owners
  3. An assisted living facility with 12 dwelling units at ground level
  4. All of the above

2. To comply with the Fair Housing Act, which of the following codes and standards may be used?

  1. International Building Code
  2. ADA Standards for Accessible Design
  3. ICC A117.1 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities
  4. All of the above

3. Accessible doors are NOT required by the Fair Housing Act to meet which of the following requirements?

  1. Hardware that is operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist
  2. Minimum 32-inch clear opening width
  3. Closers with the delayed action feature
  4. Maneuvering clearance that is compliant with the applicable code or standard

Answers: 1 – D, 2 – D, 3 – C