Need Accessible Housing in D.C.?
You Have Rights. - Vol. II
Know Your Rights
If you (or a family member) have a disability and need wheelchair accessible housing, then under federal law you have certain rights.
If you live in a Section 8 building that was built after 1988 or renovated since 1988, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act applies and requires that:
At least 5% of the units must be wheelchair accessible.
The common areas (e.g. laundry room, mail room, trash room) must be accessible.
The landlord must make and pay for reasonable modifications (e.g. ramp, grab bars) at the tenant's request or offer to transfer the tenant to an accessible unit.
If you live in D.C. public housing, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act applies and the consent order in Young v. DCHA requires that:
DCHA will renovate or build a total of 565 accessible public housing units.
DCHA will offer accessible public housing units first to public housing tenants who are mobility impaired, need accessible units, and request a transfer through DCHA.
DCHA will then offer these units to applicants with mobility impairments on the waiting list.
DCHA will provide ramps to public housing tenants who use wheelchairs and request ramps as a reasonable accommodation.
DCHA will offer partially accessible public housing units (units with ramps) first to tenants with mobility impairments, and next to applicants with mobility impairments who reach the top of the public housing waiting list and qualify for the selection pool.
The landlord should let you as the tenant pay for any reasonable modifications (which will need to be removed when you vacate the unit) *Your landlord is the person, agency, or company you pay your rent to every month.
DCHA will offer public housing units, in the following order:
a fully accessible unit;
partially accessible unit with accessible features;
a unit on an accessible route that DCHA will modify to meet the applicant's needs.
Steps You Should Take
If you live in D.C. public housing or a Section 8 building, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act applies and you should:
Tell your property manager, your landlord, or in the case of public housing, the D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA) central office what your accessible housing needs are
Request from your property manager reasonable modifications that you need (such as a ramp, grab bars, door handles and levers).
Request a transfer to an accessible unit or a unit that can be modified for your needs.
Follow up with your property manager, your landlord, or the DCHA ADA Coordinator about your request for modifications and a transfer.
Remind your landlord, or the ADA Coordinator at DCHA of your access needs when you re-certify and in response to surveys or other correspondence.
Call University Legal Services at (202) 547-0198 to discuss your rights under the Young consent order.