Property ownership is a good way to generate passive income, but it can be too much work to handle. You are responsible for the entire upkeep of the property, including compliance with state and federal regulations. Some basic obligations are checking and repairing structural issues, maintaining safe staircases and other passages, keeping elevators up to standards, and other responsibilities to keep the property habitable.
However, your responsibilities as a property owner are beyond property maintenance. You have to ensure that your property is compliant with the building codes and regulations to ensure the safety of the inhabitants and visitors. Most importantly, your property must be ADA compliant, especially for public use. Otherwise, you risk heavy fines, lawsuits, and other legal ramifications.
What is ADA?
ADA (Americans with Disability Act) protects people with disabilities to ensure they have the same opportunities as everyone else and participate in the mainstream of American life. First signed into law in 1990, ADA protects disabled Americans’ right to access government programs and services, employment, and patronage. It also prohibits discrimination against people based on color, race, religion, sex, or national origin due to disability.
If your property is for apartments, restaurants, or any other commercial use, it must adhere to all ADA regulations, such as adequately marked parking spaces and wheelchair ramps. In the parking lot of public properties, owners must ensure that the spaces are at least 8 feet wide and there is a handicap designated space per every 25parking spaces in the area.
The handicap designated space must be flat with a less than 2% slope to ensure the safety of people with disabilities. For instance, every public eatery must have a ramp that is wheelchair accessible and aisles be at least 36inches wide.
The ADA includes title II which covers state and federal protections, and title III, which extends to businesses and non-profits. With the latest update going into effect in 2017, new ADA regulations and adjustments continue to be developed for the well-being of disabled Americans.
If you are a property owner or manager, you must keep up to date with changes in relevant regulations to avoid unnecessary legal strife. Making your property ADA compliant also opens your business to a broader market.
Is your property ADA compliant?
It is always smart to take a proactive approach to government regulations. Making your property accessible to people with disabilities is more than accessible parking and wheelchair ramps. Truncated domes or detectable warning surfaces are necessary to assist visually impaired people when walking on public pathways.
Other changes to ensure your property is ADA compliant include:
- Updating signage to include braille.
- Installing grab bars.
- Switching communal doorknobs to lever handles.
- A more accessible rent payment system.
- Properly maintained elevators.
- Wider doorways, hallways, and accessible bathtubs.
Although ADA compliance applies to only a small part of your property, it benefits many people besides the disabled. For instance, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with young children benefit from wider doorways.
ADA compliance is critical to avoid legal ramifications and ensure your property is inclusive to disabled people.