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UFAS/ADA Issues Caused by Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Accommodations That Create ADA/UFAS Issues (Additional Parking Spaces)

This summer we have noticed a trend while on-site doing either Capital Needs Assessments or UPCS (Pre-REAC) Inspections. Some well-intentioned managers and property administrators are adding “accessible design” features because a tenant requests a reserved parking space or a space that is closer to their unit or entrance. In order to accommodate the tenant’s request, property managers are adding a “universal symbol” sign to another parking space (in addition to their 5% set aside) to accommodate the request but actually converting the space to an “ADA Accessible Space”.

There are a few elements that are often found to be wrong in this situation – most commonly are the physical errors when creating an “accessible space” that makes the space out of compliance with ADA/UFAS/Section 504 requirements.

  • Spaces should be 96″ wide with a 60″ access aisle
  • The sign in front of the parking stall must be mounted high enough to be seen while a vehicle is in the space (typically more than 60″)
  • Maximum Slope of 1:50 in all directions
  • The parking space and access aisle must be completely free of any obstructions

The issue that we are seeing is that to respond to the reasonable accommodation request, managers are adding the “sign” but not meeting any of the other requirements. In doing so, they are inadvertently creating a non-compliance with ADA requirements, as well as UPCS (Blocked or damaged accessible route), and Section 504.

What Should I Do Instead?

Assuming that you have already met your requirement for handicapped parking elsewhere on your property, consider the alternatives. In most cases, a “Reserved” or “Private” parking sign will accommodate the request without actually letting loose the Pandora’s box of requirements that come with using the “universal access” sign. Remember that once you use the “universal access” sign, requirements under ADA, UFAS, and local codes (depending on the state) all become applicable, and are governed by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. In short – this is a very different thing than Mrs. Smith in Apartment 4D asking for her own parking spot.

If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions about training, issues with ADA, UFAS, or UPCS Compliance.

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