Reasonable Accommodations The Importance of ADA Compliance

New York City can be tough enough to navigate as a young, able-bodied person; it's even more difficult for the elderly or physically challenged to get around and go about their day. Imagine living with a physical disability in an apartment building without ramps or wheelchair access. Imagine living with a serious illness and wanting a pet to ease your suffering—in a building whose bylaws do not allow animals.

A Play in Three Acts

Throughout the years, overcoming such housing obstacles has been made easier with the passing of three important pieces of legislation: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Fair Housing Act of 1988, and the American Disabilities Act of 1990. These acts have been extremely helpful in improving the living environments of the disabled, but before understanding the impact of these acts on buildings and its residents, both disabled and non-disabled, its important to understand the distinct definition of each.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), federal law defines a person with a disability as "any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment."

In general, a physical or mental impairment includes hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex, and mental retardation that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include walking, talking, hearing, seeing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, and caring for oneself.


Related Articles

Environmental Irritants

Managing Residents’ Chemical Sensitivities

Your Pet Policy vs. NYC's Human Rights Commission

New Guidance Requires 'Cooperative Dialogue'

Elevator Refurbishment

Managing a Major Service Disruption

Q&A: Who’s Financially Responsible for Repairs?

Q&A: Who’s Financially Responsible for Repairs?

Q&A: Is My Co-op Ignoring ADA?

Q&A: Is My Co-op Ignoring ADA?

When Calling a Pet an ‘Emotional Support Animal’ Crosses the Line

Condo and Co-op Residents Test the Limits of Animal Permissions



  • What is a reasonable time frame to expect a wheelchair ramp to be built after giving written request to my apartment manager?
  • Who is responsible for paying for a wheelchair ram or automatic opening doors to allow outside of building access in a condominium. Owner or association.husband in wheelchair and can't get out of building without help.
  • If I buy an accessible condo unit am I allowed to alter the kitchen making it noncompliant? My wife and I have no accessibility issues and would like to move refrigerator. Managing agent says it's illegal to make our unit non-compliant.
  • I am very upset live in Tucson Arizona La Hacienda Apts 6161 e Pima #1025 I am a veteran am disabled at this time waiting to have surgery on hip for 3rd time wheel chair ordered by Doctor my other half has lease agreement has had to take care of me behind on rent trying to get dd214 for help computer room has no wheel chair access neither does anything else lots of disabled here took chance of walking with walking stick went slow so I would not fall criticized for not using wheel chair(I thought u were in a wheel chair) told her computer room not wheel chair access able she was discrimatory and be littling.Could u pls look into this not just for me other residents.this persons name is Cristy in office she also said u will be kicked out no matter what the circumstances this is a money making buisness pls pls help
  • Who is responsible for paying for a automatic door opener to allow outside of building access in a over 55 complex of 150 units. the complexs is not fed. funded but is hud. renter in wheelchair and can't get out of, or back into building without help.
  • when the disabled person is deceased and im selling my coop I am being told that I have to pay to remove ramp