# 34 III-1.

2000 September 11, 1992

DJ 202-PL-175

Peter J. Pitassi 9267 Haven Avenue, Suite 220 Rancho Cucamonga, California 91730 Dear Mr. Pitassi: 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. You have asked whether certain common-use facilities within existing privately owned residential apartment projects must be made accessible under the ADA. You have asked specifically about rental offices, recreational facilities, including clubhouses, swimming pools, spas, game rooms, exercise rooms, and laundry buildings. Although the ADA does not apply to strictly residential facilities, it does cover public accommodations within residential facilities. Common areas that function as one of the ADA's twelve categories of places of public accommodation and that not intended for the exclusive use of tenants and their guests are considered places public accommodation and are thus required to comply with the ADA. Rental offices, which are by their nature open to persons other than tenants and their guests,

are covered. The other facilities you have mentioned will be covered only if they may be used by persons other than tenants and their guests, regardless of whether a fee is charged. If they are not consistently made available to the public, they will be covered by the ADA only for those events that are open to people other than tenants and their guests. Please be aware that even facilities open only to tenants may have accessibility and non-discrimination obligations under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended. For further information on accessibility standards of the Fair Housing Act, please direct inquiries to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Those common areas that are covered by the ADA must comply with the nondiscrimination and accessibility requirements of Title III. In existing facilities, all barriers to accessibility must be removed if the removal is readily achievable. Readily achievable means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. Section 36.304(b) and (c) of the enclosed title III regulations, at pages 35597-98, provide examples and suggest priorities of barrier removal steps. Public accommodations are urged first to provide an accessible route into the facility from public sidewalks, parking or transportation. Next, a public accommodation should provide access to, in order of priority, areas where goods and services are made available and to restroom facilities. The public accommodation should then provide access to the remainder of its "goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations." Please consult the enclosed regulations and Technical Assistance Manual for a more complete discussion of barrier removal. I hope this information is useful to you. Sincerely,

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