# 33 III-1.

2000 DJ 202-PL-118 September 11, 1992

XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Freehold, New Jersey XXXXX Dear Mr. XXXXX: This is in response to your letter requesting information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA's requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation or legal advice, and it is not binding on the Department. Your letter states that you reside with your wife in a senior citizen housing development consisting of 671 homes and a two-story clubhouse building. You state that the second floor is not accessible to your wife and other persons who use wheelchairs because there is no elevator or wheelchair lift. The ADA does not apply to strictly residential facilities. Assuming your housing complex is strictly residential and would not be considered a social service center establishment, whether the ADA applies to the clubhouse depends on who is entitled to use the clubhouse. If activities in a clubhouse within a residential complex are intended for the exclusive use of residents and their guests, the facility is considered an amenity of the housing development. It would not be considered a public accommodation subject to the accessibility requirements of the ADA. Nonetheless, the housing units and the clubhouse would be

subject to the requirements of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. If the clubhouse facilities and activities are made available to the general public for rental or use, they would be covered by the ADA. Once covered by the ADA, the owners or operators of the clubhouse would be required to remove architectural barriers to accessibility if their removal is readily achievable, that is, without much difficulty or expense. However, because the clubhouse is a two-story facility, it would not be required to have an elevator, even if it were readily achievable to install one. The ADA requirements for new construction mandate elevators only in certain types of two-story buildings -- shopping malls and doctor's offices, for example. The barrier removal obligation for existing facilities does not require a facility to exceed the requriements that would be applicable to new construction. I have enclosed the Department's Title III Technical Assistance Manual which may provide further guidance on these issues. I hope this information is useful to you in understanding the requirements of the ADA. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Director Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act Enclosures (2) Title III regulations Title III Technical Assistance Manual