What You Need To Know About Fair Housing And Accessible Service Amenities


How To Unlock Inclusivity: What You Need To Know About Fair Housing And Accessible Service Amenities

In today’s competitive multifamily housing market, attracting and retaining residents requires going beyond granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. While those things still matter to residents, property owners must also include “on trend” service amenities that check the box on accessibility.

Forward-thinking property managers are looking at new ways to enhance resident satisfaction while ensuring compliance with Fair Housing regulations. 

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects residents from discrimination based on disability. With a growing focus on accessibility and inclusivity, multifamily housing providers are responsible for creating communities that welcome everyone.

But compliance isn’t the only reason to prioritize accessibility. There’s a growing focus on inclusivity, and here’s where accessible service amenities play an important role, offering innovative solutions that can enhance resident satisfaction while ensuring Fair Housing compliance. 

Let’s explore how these services can unlock inclusivity and create a win-win for both residents and property managers.

Understanding Fair Housing and Accessibility

Full length portrait of African-American couple with handicapped woman working from home togetherThe Fair Housing Act (FHA) stands as a cornerstone of equal housing opportunity in the United States. This act prohibits discrimination in housing based on seven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability

For multifamily housing providers, the FHA ensures their properties offer a level playing field for all residents, providing equal access to housing units and amenities with reasonable accommodations for residents with disabilities.

Accessibility goes beyond physical features like ramps and wider doorways. It encompasses the ability of residents with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of community life.  

What does that look like?

  • For a resident who uses a wheelchair, accessibility includes not just having a ramp to enter the building but hallways and doorways within the unit that are wide enough to maneuver comfortably. 
  • Accessible amenities might include features like lowered countertops in the fitness center or assistive listening devices in common areas.  

By creating an accessible environment, multifamily housing providers foster a sense of belonging and inclusion for all residents.

Take note: Ignoring these requirements can lead to Fair Housing complaints. If a resident with a disability feels discriminated against, they have the right to file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  

These complaints can result in significant consequences for property managers, including hefty fines and the potential for costly legal battles. Prioritizing accessibility is not just the right thing to do; it’s also a wise business decision that safeguards your property from legal trouble.

Rethinking Amenities Through Accessibility

Now, let’s shift our perspective a bit. First, it’s important to distinguish between traditional amenities and service-based amenities. While most people think of physical features when considering amenities, some of the more top-rated, trendy amenities are service-based.  

Traditional amenities are permanent, typically requiring a significant investment and ongoing maintenance costs once added. While conventional amenities include features many prospective residents have come to expect and look for, service-based amenities are becoming increasingly popular. 

Because most of these don’t require a long-term investment, it makes financial sense to include them in your property amenity offerings. Here are some examples.

Service Amenities

The even better news is that these service-based offerings can address accessibility challenges in innovative ways that ALL residents appreciate.

After all, not everyone is interested in pools, fitness centers, or clubhouses, but most residents value services that make their lives easier. And service amenities that save time and help streamline the day-to-day go a long way toward enhancing accessibility, ultimately boosting resident satisfaction and benefiting the bottom line!

Top Accessible Service Amenities

Today’s residents crave convenience and services that cater to their busy lifestyles. Here are five top service amenities that not only enhance resident satisfaction but also promote accessibility for those with mobility limitations:

  • Pet-friendly services:
    Let’s face it: Pet owners have a lot on their plates, and pampered pets can equal happy residents. So offering pet concierge services, such as dog walking, grooming, and pet-friendly events from reputable companies like Elevated Living, provides a welcome helping hand.

    What a perk for residents to have onsite access to pet services! It provides a valuable amenity to residents with disabilities. However, for all residents with furry friends, it frees up time and offers peace of mind while also fostering a sense of community among pet owners.
  • Offsite package management with direct-to-door delivery:
    Lugging heavy packages upstairs can be a challenge for anyone, but finding viable solutions to package delivery creates unnecessary stress for those with physical challenges.

    Offsite package management with direct-to-door delivery services, like those offered by Fetch, eliminates this burden. Residents can enjoy the convenience of secure package handling and in-home delivery, regardless of their physical limitations.
  • Trash valet: Trash valets offered by companies like Affinity Waste Solutions are a simple yet impactful amenity. Residents simply leave their bagged trash at a designated location, eliminating the need to navigate overflowing dumpsters or haul bags long distances.

    This service is a huge advantage for residents with mobility limitations, as it eliminates the hurdle of transporting heavy trash bags. It also promotes a cleaner, more pleasant living environment for everyone.
  • Concierge or Errand-Running Services: From professional cleaning and chores to car washing, grocery service, handyman access, and more, concierge services like those offered by Amenify are a game-changer for all residents, particularly those with disabilities.

    Concierge services enable residents to outsource essential tasks — all coordinated seamlessly through an app — providing invaluable assistance to residents with limited mobility or time constraints. It’s an inclusive solution that ensures equal access to everyday household chores.
  • Accessible Transportation Assistance: Reliable transportation is essential for everyone, so integrating rideshare services in your community gives residents easy access to where they need to go. This service amenity is beneficial for residents who may not have a car or need help using public transportation, but it has a widespread appeal among all generations and abilities.

    By focusing on these transportation and parking solutions, multifamily communities not only adhere to the Fair Housing Act’s mandate for accessibility but also champion the autonomy and mobility of their residents with disabilities, creating an environment where every resident can lead an active and engaged life.

Benefits Beyond Compliance

While accessible service amenities are crucial for ensuring Fair Housing, their advantages extend beyond legal requirements. These features can create a more convenient and welcoming environment for a broader resident base. 

Features like grab bars in bathrooms or elevators with easy-to-reach buttons are appreciated conveniences, not just for those with disabilities but also for residents with temporary injuries or those navigating aging challenges.

In today’s fast-paced world, accessible service amenities cater not only to those with disabilities but also to busy lifestyles. More importantly, they create an environment that fosters independence and a sense of ease within your community.

But beyond convenience, the positive impact of accessible features demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity that often translates into increased resident satisfaction and retention. 

Residents who feel their needs are considered and valued are more likely to renew their leases and recommend your community to others. Accessible amenities contribute to a stronger sense of belonging and community, creating a positive ripple effect throughout your property.

Finally, don’t underestimate the marketing potential of accessible amenities. By showcasing your commitment to inclusivity, you attract a broader range of potential residents, including those with disabilities, families with young children, and older adults. 

This forward-thinking approach positions your community as a leader in creating a welcoming and thoughtful living space, setting you apart from competitors. 

Proactive Approach to Fair Housing

Beyond simply meeting the minimum legal requirements, there’s a wealth of benefits to taking a proactive approach to Fair Housing. When you prioritize accessibility throughout your property with service amenity options, you open your doors to a wider range of residents and cultivate a vibrant and diverse community.  

Happy young man with Down syndrome and his tutor with arms around looking at camera indoors at schoolBy taking these extra steps, you create an environment where everyone feels welcome, valued, and able to participate fully in community life.

Building a welcoming and inclusive environment goes beyond physical accessibility. Fair Housing also encompasses fostering a culture of respect and understanding. And this starts at the top with property managers who champion the diverse needs of residents and prospective residents alike. 

Property managers play a crucial role in setting the tone and culture of their communities. From providing top-rated accessible service amenities to hosting inclusive events that celebrate diversity and create connections among residents, each goes a long way in building a robust and supportive community for all.

Accessibility is a Win-Win

In today’s competitive market, offering accessible service amenities is a smart decision for property managers. These features not only ensure Fair Housing compliance but also translate to increased resident satisfaction and retention, creating a more welcoming and inclusive community for all.

By offering popular, top-rated service amenities, you address accessibility challenges in ways that benefit all residents, not just those with disabilities. Equally important, you open your doors to a wider range of potential residents, making your property stand out from the competition.

The time is NOW to TAKE ACTION!

We want to be your partner in creating thriving communities that embrace accessibility and welcome everyone.

Service Amenities

Explore how service amenities like Fetch’s offsite package management with direct-to-door delivery help create an accessible community that unlocks inclusivity in your community.

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