How the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Impacts NJ Landlords

  • Your leasing office/sales office is subject to compliance with the Americans Disabilities Act.
  • This law is not limited to just your exterior property and improvements, amenities, and privately-owned residential units.

The question in ADA cases is often whether or not your facilities are a “place of public accommodation.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination. . . on the basis of disability and the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodation.  42 U.S.C.A. ‘12182(a).

While the Courts interpreting this statute have uniformly held that residential apartments, condominiums, and mobile homes, are not places of public accommodation, and therefore do not have to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (even though they do have to comply with the Federal Fair Housing Act), leasing offices and sales offices and common areas are considered public accommodations within the meaning of this law.

The definition of “public accommodation” is such that its operations affect commerce if it falls within at least one of twelve (1-12) descriptive categories.  While none of the twelve descriptive categories include(s) a specific reference to a leasing or sales office, the Courts have accepted the concept that a leasing office or sales office is sufficiently close enough to a “hotel, motel or other places of lodging” (all categories specifically referred to in the legislation), that it is consistent with Congress’ legislative intent to extend the coverage of the Act to sales or leasing offices.

The application of the law will also apply to any residential unit which is used as a sales or leasing office.  What is significant in this analysis is that the technical assistance publication issued by the Justice Department, referred to as the “Title III Technical Assistance Manual”, specifically includes “a private residential apartment complex containing a rental office.  A rental office is a place of public accommodation.”

This area of the law is complex and should be navigated with experienced counsel.

By Christopher J. Hanlon, Esq., a NJ Landlord Attorney

If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your landlord matter, please contact Christopher J. Hanlon, Esq. at or Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. at They can also be reached toll-free at (855) 376-5291.