What’s Wrong Wednesday: Snow Removal And The Fair Housing Act
[image description: a pathway to the entrance to an apartment building has not been cleared of snow. Footprints are in the snow showing that individuals have walked through the snow to get into the entrance of the apartment building. On the lower part of the picture you can see that a snow plow cleared a pathway in front of the breezeway but did not clear the breezeway of snow.]
Under the Fair Housing Act, persons with disabilities must be able to enter their dwellings through the same entrance that is used by other persons to enter their dwellings. Therefore, the accessible route cannot be hidden, remote, circuitous or require people with disabilities to travel long distances. The building entrances on an accessible route shall be designed and maintained in a manner that the public and common use areas are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
Discrimination under the Fair Housing Act occurs when a person with a disability is not afforded an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling they reside at, including the common areas of the dwelling; in this case an apartment complex.
In the enclosed picture the housing provider cleared a pathway up to the breezeway, but did not step out of the snowplow to clear the breezeway so that the tenant with a physical disability was unable to access the building through the breezeway and had to travel a longer distance wo enter the apartment building.
The tenant has had discussions regarding snow removal but the snow removal only allowed access to the breezeway and prevented individuals with physical disabilities from accessing the entryway door.