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How the ADA and the FFHA can affect HOAs

Sometimes Home Owners Associations feel like they have a target on their back. After all, a lot of people don’t enjoy feeling like they’re being controlled, so they take out their frustrations pertaining to HOA agreements on the HOA itself despite the fact that these residents agreed to adhere to the terms of those agreements. But there are other matters outside of HOA restrictions that can lead to legal disputes if improperly handled. Amongst them are issues pertaining to individuals with disabilities.

How ADA interacts with your HOA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires certain entities to provide reasonable accommodations to those disabled individuals who request them. These claims are often seen in the workplace, but not so much with HOAs. That’s because the ADA only applies to “public accommodations” that provide goods or services. An example of a public accommodation would be an HOA swimming pool that allows public access or sells memberships to the public. Most HOAs don’t have public accommodations outside of their main offices where the public goes for discussions about leasing and buying property.

However, the public accommodation clause of the ADA can be triggered by an HOA, oftentimes without even realizing it. For example renting property out to local organizations or holding semi-private events may kick in the ADA’s protections.  So HOAs need to be cautious with how their property is being used and how they are handling any reasonable accommodation requests.

Don’t overlook the Federal Fair Housing Act

Although the ADA might come into play with your HOA, your more likely to see issues pertaining to the Federal Fair Housing Act. Under this law, an HOA cannot refuse to make a reasonable accommodation to a resident if such accommodations are necessary for a disabled person to enjoy their home. Also, an HOA may need to make an exception to its no pet policy if the pet in question is a support animal.

Seek legal help with complex matters

Issues like those mentioned above come up all the time. They might seem small, but they can end up having big ramifications. That’s why it’s often best to discuss these challenging matters with a legal team that is experienced in handling these matters.

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