MAR 17 1994

The Honorable Porter Goss Member, U. S. House of Representatives 2000 Main Street Suite 303 Ft. Myers, Florida 33901 Dear Congressman Goss: (b)(6) This is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XX , who asks about Federal laws regarding accessibility in apartment buildings. Your constituent states that he lives in a "fairly new" 64-unit apartment building in which persons with disabilities "have no access to [the] lobby because of the lack of doors allowing opening without assistance by another person." He asks for information on Federal laws that might apply to this situation. The Federal Fair Housing Act contains standards for accessibility to persons with disabilities in residential facilities. For more information on the Fair Housing Act, your constituent may contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Department of Justice enforces title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which applies to certain privately owned and operated facilities. Title III does not apply to strictly residential dwellings, but it does apply to common areas in residential buildings, such as rental offices, that function as one of title III's twelve categories of places of public accommodation and that are not intended for the exclusive use of tenants and their guests. The twelve categories of places of public accommodation are listed in section 36.104 of the enclosed title III implementing regulation, at pages 35593-94. Parking, entrances, access routes, and restrooms

serving the areas covered by the ADA would also be covered.

01-02971 -2Therefore, the lobby of your constituent's building is covered by title III only if it serves as the access route to a rental office, or other common area that functions as a place of public accommodation and is open to persons other than the tenants and their guests. In new construction and alterations covered by title III, the ADA Accessibility Standards (the "Standards") prohibit interior hinged, sliding, or folding doors that require more than 5 pounds of force to open, but the Standards do not require doors to have automatic opening mechanisms. This provision appears in section 4.13.11 of the Standards, on page 35463 of the title III regulation. The opening force requirement does not apply to exterior hinged doors, because requirements for exterior doors have been reserved for further study. In existing places of public accommodation the ADA requires that architectural barriers to access, such as interior doors that exceed ADA door opening force requirements, be removed if the removal is readily achievable. See title III regulation and preamble, 36.304, at pages 35597 and 35568-70. Readily achievable means capable of being done without much difficulty or expense. See title III regulation and preamble, 36.104, at pages 35594 and 35553-54. I hope this information is useful to your constituent in understanding the requirements of the ADA. Sincerely,

James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General

Civil Rights Division Enclosures

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