Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST
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Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST is an initiative designed to promote compliance with the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements. The program offers comprehensive and detailed instruction programs, useful online web resources, and a toll-free information line for technical guidance and support.

HUD is pleased to announce its remaining Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST program replacement webinars. There will be 4 webinar events broadcast nationally during Summer 2020 to September 30, 2020. The schedule will be posted on our training calendar.

Read more about how to register for these webinar sessions. There are no fees for our webinar sessions.

HUD PROPOSES NEW RULE RECOGNIZING ADDITIONAL BUILDING CODES AND STANDARDS TO ENCOURAGE MORE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

Proposed Rule to Adopt New Safe Harbors for Complying with the Fair Housing Act’s Design and Construction Requirements in Multifamily Housing

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced a proposed rule that would recognize additional sets of standards and model building code editions that, when followed in the design and construction of new multifamily housing, will ensure compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

“HUD is committed to supporting states, local communities, and the housing industry at large, in their efforts to build housing that is accessible to persons with disabilities,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “HUD is happy to propose these additional safe harbors as a way to further encourage the development of housing that is open to all.”

Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity added: “Adopting a model building code that HUD recognizes as a safe harbor is one very powerful way for states and local governments to deliver housing opportunities to people with disabilities. With the recognition of these additional safe harbors under our proposed rule, it will be easier than ever for states and local governments to step up to the plate and do their part to support people in their communities who need homes with accessible features.”

The Fair Housing Act requires that multifamily housing built after March 1991 contain accessible features for people with disabilities. Requirements include accessible common areas in buildings and developments, usable bathrooms and kitchens, wider doors, and environmental controls that can be reached by persons who use wheelchairs. The failure to include these features in buildings constructed after March 1991 violates federal law and makes a property difficult or impossible for persons with disabilities to use.

Under the proposed rule, HUD will incorporate more recent editions of currently recognized safe harbor standards and model building codes. HUD will amend its regulations to include the 2009 edition standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as well as the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 editions of the International Building Code, as safe harbors for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

States and local communities across the nation often adopt or adapt model building codes for enforcement within their jurisdictions to ensure up-to-date, sound standards for construction. When fully adopting one of HUD’s “safe harbors,” state and local communities are assured that their building codes incorporate the requirements for accessible features in new multifamily housing buildings under the Fair Housing Act.

“Designers and builders of multifamily housing developments have an obligation to comply with the Fair Housing Act, particularly as it relates to accessibility,” said Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel. “The rule we are proposing will greatly assist them in meeting that requirement while giving state and local governments the opportunity to reduce regulatory burdens that can arise when federal, state, and local laws differ.”

For more information on the Fair Housing Act’s design and construction requirements for accessible multifamily housing and to learn more about HUD’s currently-recognized safe harbors, please visit www.hud.gov/fairhousing or www.fairhousingfirst.org.

PROPOSED RULE:

Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Requirements; Adoption of Additional Safe Harbors

SUMMARY: This rule proposes to amend HUD’s Fair Housing Act design and construction regulations by incorporating by reference the 2009 edition of International Code Council (ICC) Accessible and Usable Building and Facilities (ICC A117.1–2009) standard, as a safe harbor. The Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities standard is a technical standard for the design of facilities that are accessible to persons with disabilities. HUD proposes to determine that compliance with ICC A117.1–2009 satisfies the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act and its amendments. This rule also proposes to designate the 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) as safe harbors under the Fair Housing Act. The IBC is a model building code and not law, but it has been adopted as law by various states and localities. The IBC provides minimum standards for public safety, health, and welfare as they are affected by building construction.

DATES: Comment Due Date: March 16, 2020.

See: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/01/15/2020-00233/fair-housing-act-design-and-construction-requirements-adoption-of-additional-safe-harbors

A FIRST LOOK AT ACCESSIBILITY....

The Fair Housing Act
Design and Construction Requirements 
of the Fair Housing Act
Common Violations of the Fair Housing Act

Instruction
Our instruction modules include general information, as well as more specific technical information regarding design and construction requirements, building strategies, various disability rights laws, and enforcement. 

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Sign-up for upcoming FIRST training events and conferences around the U.S.

Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST has been contracted by HUD to provide information, materials, and technical assistance to all relevant stakeholders about the accessibility design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act as amended in 1988. However, Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST is not responsible for enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. The information, materials, and technical assistance are intended solely as informal guidance and are neither a determination of legal responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act nor binding on any agency with enforcement responsibility under the Fair Housing Act.