What to Ask When Hunting for a Handicapped-Accessible Apartment

Young man in wheelchair unloading the dishwasher in his handicapped-accessible apartmentFinding an apartment that’s handicapped accessible can be challenging, especially if you’re unable to visit the apartment you’re considering. With the right resources and questions, though, you can do it! Of the 56.7 million Americans who have some type of disability, more than 30 million of those require a wheelchair. You’re not the only one out there asking questions about handicapped accessibility, and we’re here to help!

Start Digital: Ask Questions Online

By searching for apartments on websites like ApartmentSearch.com, you can narrow the results to view only apartments that meet certain needs. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with an apartment’s beautiful cherry floors, country-chic kitchen, and gorgeous view, only to find out that the building is too old to have an elevator! Keep things simple and save yourself time by narrowing the selection online. For instance, you can modify search requirements to answer questions like:

Is the apartment wheelchair accessible?
Are roll-in showers available?
Does the apartment building have an elevator?
Does the building offer covered parking?

Get Personal: Ask Questions Over the Phone

If you’re unable to get your questions answered online, pick up the phone! Over 30 million people (10 percent of the population) have a severe disability of some type, so apartment managers should be accustomed to hearing questions like these. While every disability is different, here are some basic questions to get your wheels turning in the right direction. Once you’ve found an apartment that covers your basic needs, you ask secondary questions like:

Where is the thermostat located? Is it low enough for those in wheelchairs to reach?
Do waste services accommodate handicapped tenants?
How wide are the apartment’s door frames?
Where are units located in relation to the laundry facilities?
Can you connect me with residents in other handicap accessible units?

In addition to asking yes-or-no questions, ask open-ended questions. For example, you might ask, “What other challenges could this apartment pose for a person with a handicap?” This type of question helps you cover more ground. Asking open-ended questions could bring up important issues that you, or the landlord, had not previously considered.

Get Local: Ask Questions About the Area

Inquire about the general area around the apartment, too. Start with the apartment complex’s immediate surroundings. For example, if you need public transportation, you may want to ask the apartment manager questions like, “What kind of access do tenants have to public transportation?” Follow up with other questions like:

What are the sidewalks like? Are they well-maintained?
How far away is the nearest grocery store?
What is the terrain around the apartment like? Are there any gravel pathways?

Asking questions like this could help ensure your safety and in the long run, help you enjoy your apartment complex! If your surroundings are conducive to your lifestyle, you may be well on your way to finding a great apartment.

Get Legal: Know Your Rights

Whether you ask questions online or over the phone (even in person), don’t be afraid to bring up your disability. It’s against the law for apartment managers or owners to treat disabled persons differently with regard to renting an apartment.

Under the Fair Housing Act, managers are not permitted to discriminate based upon disability. Plus, this Act requires all “covered multifamily dwellings” designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 to be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. Check out the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s list of FAQs for more information about the requirements outlined in the Fair Housing Act.

Handicapped individuals have the same right to rent an apartment as everyone else. You don’t have to be afraid to ask questions about handicapped accessibility for fear of discrimination. Ask away!

Get Started! Begin Your Search Today

As you start your search, visit ApartmentSearch.com and look for handicapped-accessible apartments. Our site may help you find the perfect apartment from the get-go. Visit ApartmentSearch.com, type in your location, and click Enter. You’ll be presented with a list of apartments in that city. Then, refine your search by clicking on the arrow under “Advanced” in the upper, right hand side of the screen. You can refine your search by apartments that are wheelchair accessible, have a roll-in shower, or a number of many other amenities. Start your search today!