Skip links

 In Multi-Family Housing

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recognizes 10 safe harbors for compliance with the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Click here to see list.  Though all 10 can be relied on for establishing compliance, their requirements differ in some significant areas.  For example:

Requirement FHA Design Manual FHA Guidelines A117.1-2003
Maximum depth of kitchen counter that will enable and accessible outlet to be mounted on back wall. 25 ½” 25 ½” 24”
Thresholds at secondary exterior hinged doors ¾” ¾” ½”
Centered and parallel approach to in-unit laundry appliances No No Yes
Nominal clear width for usable doors 31 5/8 31 5/8 31 ¾”
Clear floor space at refrigerator must be centered Yes Yes No
Minimum 60” between all opposing counters/appliances/fixtures in a U-Shaped kitchen No* No* Yes

*A wheelchair turning space (either 60” diameter circle or T-shaped) is required.

Investigations by the US DoJ and private litigants typically reference the FHA Design Manual or FHA Accessibility Guidelines (FHAAG).  Selection of the safe harbor for a project must also take into consideration local code requirements.  Maryland references the FHAAG while Virginia and New York reference A117.1-2003