For most people, finding an apartment with the right amenities in a desirable location is difficult. Apartment hunting is even harder for persons with disabilities because wheelchair-accessible apartments are not easy to find. However, it is still possible to find an accessible apartment for your mobility needs. Here are some tips that will help you find the right wheelchair-accessible apartment for your needs:
Know Your Needs
You are the only person who knows yourself completely. No real estate agent or property manager will understand your housing needs as much as you. Because you are the expert on your condition, you should be ready to advocate for your own needs.
Start by writing down your needs and wants. Moreover, you should write anything else that will help with your apartment search. According to studies, making a list is the best way to achieve your goals. Your list of apartment features can include:
– Roll-in shower
– Accessible parking
– Nearby amenities
– Elevator access
If you need help with moving, you should enlist friends or navigate here.
Ask for Help
Nonprofits as well as city housing organizations usually help persons with disabilities to find safe, affordable, and comfortable apartments that will fit their lifestyle and needs. Just because you know your needs best does not mean that you should apartment hunt solo.
You can use the following resources to find the perfect wheelchair-accessible apartment:
ApartmentSearch.com – on the site’s homepage, you should enter your city and hit enter. When the results page appears, click on ‘advanced’ and specify your search with terms such as ‘roll-in shower’ and ‘wheelchair accessible’. When you do this, your results will be fine-tuned to feature accessible apartments only.
Rentals.com – once you search for your desired location, you should choose ‘property features’ and click on ‘handicap accessible’. You will see a list of the relevant properties that you can rent.
MassAccess – if you are moving to Massachusetts, this site can help you to find an affordable apartment. When conducting your search, all you need to do is check the ‘adaptable/accessible’ box.
Ask the Right Questions For Right Apartment
When hunting for an apartment, you need to ask the right questions. When you know the specific details, you will be able to make the right decisions. Here are some questions that you should consider asking:
– Are the floors easy to roll across?
– Are the doors wide enough to fit a wheelchair?
– How low are the bathroom and kitchen counters?
– Are there ramps in all the right places?
– Does the shower have grab bars?
Consider Newer Apartment Complexes
Apartments built after 1991 must meet some accessibility requirements. For example, they need to have an accessible common use area and parking lot. Moreover, newer apartments should have accessible routes around apartment units – wider doorways and usable bathrooms.
In some areas, you might find apartments that are more accessible with walk-in showers, lower cabinets, and large floor areas. Aside from the laws, newer apartment complexes are facing more pressure to provide accessible units. Although newer buildings tend to be costlier, you are more likely to find what you are looking for there.
Know Your Rights
ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act – does not usually cover residential housing. It covers public spaces such as libraries, restaurants, stores, and hospitals. It applies to a building’s public spaces, which means that offices have to follow ADA.
The Fair Housing Act, however, prevents discrimination on the basis of religion, sex, race, etc. This means that a property manager cannot refuse to negotiate the price of an apartment or set unfairly high prices. This act also forbids the renting of an inaccessible unit to persons with disabilities.
However, this act does not require a landlord to pay for modifications that will make a unit more accessible. Even if you find a perfect apartment that needs a couple of adjustments, you will probably pay for the modifications yourself. The property manager might offer some financial help but he is not legally obligated to do so.
It is not easy to find a wheelchair-accessible apartment. You have to know your needs, ask for help, ask the right questions, consider newer complexes, and know your rights. These tips will help you to find a suitable apartment.