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Are registered historic landmarks exempt from ADA compliance?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2022 | ADA |

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for people with disabilities. The law requires that buildings and facilities be accessible to all, regardless of ability. 

There is a common misconception that all registered historic landmarks are automatically exempt from ADA compliance. However, this is not always the case.

What is “undue hardship”?

The Americans with Disabilities Act became law in 1990, intending to provide equal access and opportunity for people with disabilities. The ADA includes several provisions that cover everything from employment to transportation to access to public facilities. 

In general, businesses and other organizations must ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. This includes making reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, such as providing wheelchair-accessible entrances and restrooms. One of the ways the ADA accomplishes this is by requiring that historical landmarks be accessible to individuals with disabilities unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the property owner. In that case, the property owner would need to consult with the State Historic Preservation Office.

In assessing whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship, factors such as the nature and cost of the modification, the financial resources of the property owner, and the impact of the accommodation on the operation of the business are all considered. 

If your building is registered as a historic landmark and you are facing litigation for non-compliance with ADA regulations, you need experienced legal guidance to assist you with a defense strategy and protect your interests.