Are all apartment complexes suppose to have a certain amount of handicaped accessible units?

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Are all apartment complexes suppose to have a certain amount of handicaped accessible units?

I have live in a low income apartment complex for over 20 years; when I first moved in I wasn’t in a wheelchair. However, due to failing health issuses, I now use a wheelchair 100% of the time. Unfortunately my apartment is not accessible for my wheelchair; there are no handicap accessible units here. I was asked to put in request for reasonable accommodation or modification which I did for carpet removal and replace with hardwood floors. Then I was informed that I would have too pay for this after given the choice of indoor/outdoor carpet or wood flooring. Can management do this?

Asked on July 10, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Apartment complexes are not required to have certain amount of handicapped units.  The California Civil Code has sections that require facilities to be handicap accessible.  The California Civil Code Sections 52-55 cover two separate pieces of legislation: the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Disabled Persons Act.  The Unruh Act covers intentional discrimination, while the Disabled Persons Act covered unintentional discrimination. 

That said, both of these acts only cover public facilties.  A recent 2008 case stated that Apartment complexes are not covered as public---only the leasing office itself needs to have handicap access.  See Coronado v. Cobblestone Village Comm. Rentals (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 83.

So, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like the law falls short of helping you in this situation.

Best of luck.


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