The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, prohibiting discrimination against disabled people in the arenas of employment, accommodations and public services. The act encompasses people with physical and mental impairment who are, in the case of employment, otherwise qualified for the service or job. While the federal government does not fund the requirements outlined in the ADA, there are some tax credits available for making buildings and public transportation handicapped accessible.
Number of Accessible Rooms
Transient lodging, including hotels, motels, inns, boarding houses, dormitories and similar lodging, must have a minimum number of accessible rooms. Lodging with under five rooms for rent and where the owner lives on the premise are exempt from these requirements. One accessible room is required for every 25 rooms total for the first 100 rooms. Rooms 101 to 200 require one more room for every 50 rooms (151 rooms requires six accessible rooms).
Roll-in showers are required for all places of transient lodging with more than 50 rentable rooms. The number of roll-in showers required is one per 100 rooms. These showers must be 30-inches wide by 60-inches long or larger and should have a folding seat, which persons who use wheelchairs can transfer onto easily to shower. The faucets and wand must be operable from the folding seat and there must be a horizontal grab bar alongside the seat for stabilization when transferring between the seat and the wheelchair. The showers must be free of curbs or lips that would get in the way of using a wheelchair. All flooring in bathrooms must be slip-resistant to protect persons who use walkers or crutches against falling.
Passageways and Doorways
All entry doors, connecting and interior doors, and bathroom doors must allow for 32-inches of clearance to allow for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids ample space for passage. All doorways must allow 18-inches of clearance on the latching side of the door so there is room for patrons in wheelchairs to pull the door open. All door hardware must be easily operable with one hand; locks and latches may be hung no higher than 48-inches to allow the locking of the door from a wheelchair.
Accommodations for Hard of Hearing Guests
A predetermined number of guest rooms must accommodate hard of hearing guests with the use of visual alarms, notifications of door knocks and smoke or fire alarms and telephone accommodations, including an electrical outlet within 4-feet of the phone jack for TTY use. The required number of rooms for persons who are hard of hearing are calculated similarly to the number of mobility-impaired accessible rooms, with one per 25 rooms for the first hundred.
Distribution of Accessible Rooms
Persons with disabilities are entitled to the same choices as non-disabled persons with regard to room type. This means that your accessible rooms must be distributed between the lodging’s room types, including rooms with one bed, two beds, adjoining rooms, suites, smoking and non-smoking.