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Fair Housing laws require accessible design features

Q: Would you please do a column on aging in place? You may want to do it with regards to interior redesign by owners; common area modifications required of the homeowners associations for walkways, building access, in/out pools; and specifically disable parking designation do’s and don’t’s. Also, give what remedies property owners have to bring to help get the HOA board into compliance when it refuses to comply or selectively chose to meet the requirements for the elderly and disabled.

A: Under the Fair Housing laws (not to be confused with American with Disabilities Act laws which pertain to public venues), there are seven basic design and construction requirements that must be met.

■ An accessible building entrance on an accessible route, for example entering into your clubhouse. An accessible route means a continuous, unobstructed path connecting elements and spaces within a building or site that can be negotiated by a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair. The route needs to be safe and usable. In addition an accessible entrance to a building entrance by an accessible route, for example, proper sidewalks from the street to the clubhouse.

■ The second requirement pertains to accessible and usable public and common areas. Public and common-use areas cover parking lots, storage areas, indoor and outdoor recreational areas, lobbies, mailrooms, mailboxes, etc.

■ The third requirement pertains to usable doors that allow passage into and within all premises, wide enough to allow passage by persons using wheelchairs.

■ The fourth requirement is that there must an accessible route to each home, for example from the parking lot to the front door of a home.

■ In your common area facilities, the fifth requirement requires that light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls are in accessible locations.

■ The sixth requirement pertains to the reinforced walls in baths so that grab bars can be added. The federal law does not require the installation of grab bars in baths but if association members request that grab bars be installed, the association would have to accommodate them.

■ The last requirement is that the kitchens and baths are usable, that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver within the spaces.

For more detailed information, contact the Las Vegas field office of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development at 702-366-2100. You can also ask the HUD representative if they could inspect your community. There may be some compliance exceptions for your association or specific remedies that could be mandated by HUD upon the association.

Q: Two officers have resigned from a seven-member board, leaving five active. At a general session meeting, our community manager declares that if action is taken (on anything), it would take four to approve because that is a majority of a seven-member board. Well, currently the board is only five, not seven. I would maintain, if five board members are present, that it would take a majority of three to approve, not four. Please clarify and refer me to any Nevada Revised Statutes 116 that can confirm.

A: NRS 116 does not specifically address this issue. You would need to refer to your community rules to see if this issue is specifically addressed.

Per parliamentary rules, the five members left on the board constitute a quorum. Any action taken would only need approval of only three board members.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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