This Is our Village

Friday, October 29, 2010

ADA Amendments Act (2008)

The CV Blog is a wonderful vehicle which could be used for, among other purposes, education relating to condominium operation and management. As I sift through important and relevant issues, I will share them with you instead of simply gaining knowledge because I enjoy doing so.

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (effective January 1st, 2009) makes significant strides in regard to the change in interpretation of important definitions relating to disabilities. These revised and enhanced definitions also effect the interpretation of the Fair Housing Act, which is of greater concern to residents and boards of Century Village as it relates to housing and reasonable accommodations. A few Supreme Court decisions in the past decade have slowly eroded the protections for the disabled, which runs contrary to the original intention of Congress. These decisions were based on the Court’s interpretation of who was considered “disabled,” and was considered too restrictive and not in keeping with the spirit of the ADA. Since Florida Statutes mimic the Federal guidelines, lets start with statute.

Chapter 760.20-760.37 Florida Statutes is the Fair Housing Act. The term “handicap” used in Florida Statutes is equivalent to the term “disability” and therefore, the changes in the interpretation of what constitutes a disability through the ADA Amendments Act, also applies to handicapped persons.
760.22 (7) “Handicap” means:

(a) A person has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, or he or she has a record of having, or is regarded as having, such physical or mental impairment; or

(b) A person has a developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063

The “ADA Amendments Act of 2008” revises the definition of “disability” to more broadly encompass impairments that substantially limit a major life activity. The amended language also states that mitigating measures, including assistive devices, auxiliary aids, accommodations, medical therapies and supplies (other then eyeglasses and contact lenses) have no bearing in determining whether a disability qualifies under the law. Changes by the Act also clarify coverage of impairments that are episodic or in remission that substantially limit a major life activity when active, such as epilepsy or post traumatic stress disorder. This Act states that Congress rejects the notion that to be substantially limited in performing a major life activity under the ADA "an individual must have an impairment that prevents or severely restricts the individual from doing activities that are of central importance to most people's daily lives” and conveys that the question of whether an individual's impairment is a disability under the ADA should not demand extensive analysis.

Under 760.23(9) F.S. it is unlawful to discriminate in housing based on a disability (among other protected classes) by:

(a) A refusal to permit, at the expense of the handicapped person, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises; or

(b) A refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Randall, keep on shining daylight in the dark corners.


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