Q. I recently moved to a housing development that has mailboxes in a central location rather than each house having a mailbox at the curb. The cement pad surrounding the mailboxes has limited space for walking from the curb to the individual mailboxes; the mailboxes are inaccessible to anyone using a walker or wheelchair. Apparently, these group mailboxes aren't covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If they are covered, which governmental body is responsible for inspecting and approving them — the U.S. Postal Service or the city's building inspector? — Bettendorf reader
A. After contacting the city of Bettendorf, the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of Justice, we were referred to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Agatha Gutierrez, regional public affairs officer, office of field policy and management, Region VII (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska), Kansas City regional office, responded:
"Apparently, there isn't enough information about the property (year it was built, owner, federal funding, etc.) to provide a concrete answer regarding what accessibility requirements apply. If the property is a covered multifamily dwelling subject to the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act, the mailboxes must be accessible and on an accessible route. The mailboxes would also generally need to be accessible subject to Section 504, if the property receives federal funds.
"Title II of the ADA would only apply if the housing is operated by a public entity. If the apartment complex is privately owned and operated, then generally only the rental and sales office that is open to public would need to be accessible under Title III of the ADA (and not the mailboxes).
"Here's some information on the applicability of the different statutes from the HUD/DOJ Joint Statement on the Design and Construction Requirements of the Fair Housing Act. https://www.ada.gov/doj_hud_statement.pdf.
To view more information, go to qctimes.com/askthetimes.
Gutierrez also suggested contacting the Iowa Department of Human Rights, 321 E. 12th St., Des Moines, IA, 50319, 515-242-5655 or https://humanrights.iowa.gov/contact-us-0.
The Iowa Department of Human Rights asked for more detailed information about the individual reader's circumstances. Ask the Times provided the reader with a direct contact at the Iowa Department of Human Rights in addition to the information above.