March 2012 Coach's Quiz
We've given you seven rules on how to avoid discrimination claims by individuals with mobility impairments. Now let's look at how the rules might apply in the real world. Take the COACH's Quiz to see what you've learned.
INSTRUCTIONS: Each of the following questions has only one correct answer. On a separate piece of paper, write down the number of each question, followed by the answer you think is correct—for example, 1)b, 2)a, and so on. The correct answers (with explanations) follow the quiz. Good luck!
Your community was built in the 1980s, before the FHA's design and construction standards took effect, so you shouldn't worry about the steps leading to your building's main entrance. True or false?
Although your community has a policy of providing unassigned parking, an applicant says she wants an assigned parking space near the building entrance because of a disability. She doesn't use a cane or appear to have any difficulty walking, but you could trigger fair housing trouble if you ignore her request. True or false?
Coach's Answers and Explanations
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rules #1 and #7 apply here:
Rule #1: Make Sure Your Leasing Office Is Accessible
Rule #7: Carefully Review Requests for Reasonable Modifications
Although your community was built before the effective date of the FHA's design and construction standards, you could face liability for disability discrimination if you neglect barriers to your building's main entrance. For one thing, you could run afoul of the ADA if that entrance is the only access to your leasing office. For another, the FHA would probably require you to allow a request for the installation of a ramp to the building entrance as a reasonable modification for a resident who uses a wheelchair due to a mobility disorder.
Correct answer: a
Reason: Rules #5 and #6 apply here:
Rule #5: Curb Curiosity About Mobility Impairments
Rule #6: Carefully Consider Requests for Reasonable Accommodations
You may not ignore the applicant's request for an assigned parking space close to the building simply because she doesn't display any outward appearance of a disability. The definition of disability is broad enough to cover an array of physical impairments, such as a heart or lung condition, which wouldn't require use of a cane but would significantly affect an individual's ability to walk long distances. Treat the request as a request for a reasonable accommodation and follow up by requesting verification of her disability in accordance with fair housing rules regarding disability-related inquiries.
EXTRA CREDIT: JUDGE FOR YOURSELF
Look on our Web site and in our Feb. 10, 2012, eAlert for an extra credit assignment! In Judge for Yourself: Resident with Mobility Impairment Sues Community, we'll describe an actual court case. Test yourself on whether you think the community should be held liable, and then check our summary of the court's ruling to see how much you've learned.
If you're not getting our free eAlerts, sign up at www.FairHousingCoach.com today!