# 88 III-1.

2000 June 17, 1993

James A. Hackman Parfitt/Ling Consulting Engineers 101 S. Fraser Street State College, Pennsylvania 16801-3850 Dear Mr. Hackman: This letter is in response to your inquiry about the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). We regret the delay in responding. 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 ask whether the ADA applies to a privately owned apartment building for elderly persons. You describe the building as one of eleven units comprising a continuing care retirement community, designed to provide independent living for older people. Title III of the ADA applies to privately owned or operated facilities that are either commercial facilities or that fall within one of the twelve categories of "places of public accommodation" listed in that title. Strictly residential facilities are not included in the twelve public accommodation categories and are expressly exempted from the definition of commercial facilities. Thus, strictly residential facilities are not covered by the ADA. As your letter noted, however, residential facilities may have to meet nondiscrimination and accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act. Although the ADA does not apply to strictly residential facilities, it has two possible applications to your apartment building. First, common areas within residential buildings, such as rental offices and meeting rooms, that function as one of the ADA's twelve categories of places of public accommodation and that are not intended for the exclusive use of tenants and their

guests constitute "places of public accommodation" within the meaning of title III, and must comply with the ADA. Rental offices, for example, are by their nature open to the public and would be considered rental establishments or service establishments within the meaning of the ADA. Meeting rooms, if not restricted to the exclusive use of tenants and their guests, would be a place of public gathering covered by the ADA. Second, a facility that provides both housing and social services is covered by the ADA as a place of public accommodation where a significant enough level of social services is provided that the facility itself can be considered a social service center establishment. In this situation those portions of the facility that are used in the provision of social services are covered by the ADA. If the social services are provided throughout the facility, including in the individual housing units, then the entire facility is a place of public accommodation. Social services in the context of the ADA would include medical care, assistance with daily living activities, provision of meals, transportation, counseling, and some recreational activities. No one of these services will automatically trigger ADA coverage. Rather, the determination of whether a private entity provides a significant enough level of social services will depend on the quantity, quality, and combination of these services. I have enclosed the regulations promulgated under title III, and the Technical Assistance Manual for that title. I hope this information is helpful to you. Sincerely,

Joan A. Magagna Deputy Chief Public Access Section Enclosures Title III regulation Title III Technical Assistance Manual