Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act PDF Print E-mail

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act


Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities conducted by HUD or that receive financial assistance from any federal agency. This includes Housing Authorities and private entities that receive federal funding.

Receipt of federal money is required for there to be coverage. Private entities had remained free to withhold housing on the basis of disability, until the passage of the FHAA (1989) and the ADA (1990).


The Act prohibits discrimination by public housing authorities ("PHAs") that receive federal funds, cities and towns that receive Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) or other federal funds, private for profit or non-profit housing developers that receive federal funds, and colleges and universities that receive federal funds (student housing).

  • PHAs and other recipients of federal funds are required to make reasonable modifications to rules, policies and procedures to enable a person with a disability to access a housing unit or PHA program.
  • A minimum of 5% of total units in new construction that receives federal dollars must be accessible. Additional 2% accessible for hearing/vision impairments. (This also applies to renovation if the renovation cost is 75% or more of the value of facility).
  • Alterations are required to be accessible.

So if the housing is NOT built or subsidized with federal funds, it is still covered by the Fair Housing Act if it is multi-family housing (3 or more units). That includes a requirement for Universal Design requirements (door width, accessible entrances, etc.).

If the housing is a recipient of federal money, than a higher standard of access applies – Uniform Federal Accessibility Stadards ("UFAS"), not merely Universal Design.


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Information provided by the National Supportive Housing Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.