How To Find Wheelchair Accessible Apartments

By: ROS Team

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NYC is extremely convenient when it comes to accessing facilities, but what conveniences are available to those who have a disability, especially when it comes to housing?

Let’s take a look at tips for finding buildings that have been outfitted to accommodate all New Yorkers.

What Can you Expect in an Accessible Apartment?

Amendments in the Fair Housing Act included special provisions for disabled persons. The following are required in order for an apartment building to be in compliance with the Act:

  1. There must be an accessible entrance to the building;
  2. There must be an accessible route to the building itself;
  3. The building must have an accessible common area;
  4. Doors must be built such that a wheelchair-bound person can safely enter and exit;
  5. Electrical outlets and light switches should be reachable;
  6. Grab bars must be installed in bathrooms;
  7. Bathrooms and kitchens must be configured such that a person with a disability can use all of the features easily.


Accessible apartments must make sure their tenants can move and tend to their daily lives. These apartments typically include accessible features with some structural modification like wider door frames or walk-in showers.

Finding Accessible Apartments:

Start your search on real estate websites. Websites offer additional filters that allow users to narrow down their searches, making it easier to find exactly what they are looking for.

Try searching for ‘accessible apartments’ in the search bar or choose an option from the down list to easily locate apartment buildings with accessible features. You can also select options such as Special Features, Disability Access, Community Amenities, Property Features, and Handicap Access.

Finding Accessible Apartments

1. Visit Websites that Specialize in Locating Accessible Apartments

No matter where in the city you plan to move to, it’s generally helpful to start your search online. There are several websites that specialize in helping apartment seekers with disabilities.

2. Look for Non Profit Organizations

Some non-profit organizations endeavor to help people with disabilities, especially in the apartment-hunting process. Some of the major nonprofit organizations that provide aid are Accessible space, Habitat for Humanity, and Mercy Housing. Contact any of them for assistance finding an accessible apartment anywhere across the country.

3. Pursue Federal Programs

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) leads the charge when it comes to housing needs for all populations, including those who are disabled. There are various housing programs like Section 8 or Section 811 that give first preference to disabled people.

Steps to Getting an Accessible Apartment:

1. Narrow your Search

There are accessible apartments in all apartment buildings, so that means they come in a variety of floorplans and with different amenities. Know your budget constraints and have a good idea of what you’re looking for in an apartment before beginning your search.

2. Get Familiar with the Location

It is very important if you are moving into a new city to become familiar with the area in which you are moving. This includes the accessibility to the apartment building but also access to local transportation. Additionally, get some information about the wheelchair accessibility of sidewalks, parks, and public areas.

Get Familiar with the Location

3. Prepare your Documents

Regardless of the city, there are certain documents that are required of everyone before getting an apartment. Preparing them beforehand will help streamline the whole process.

4. Keep Proof of your Income

Landlords want to make sure their tenants can pay rent and do so on time. Although landlords are not supposed to discriminate based on actual or perceived disability. Some still do as they make assumptions about income or earning potential. Keep verified proof of your income such as a pay stub or proof of any aid you are getting from the government.

5. Tour Potential Apartments

Once you get some promising recommendations or find one online, schedule a tour. You may even opt for a virtual tour if you are not comfortable visiting in person. Doing so provides a real-time idea of amenities and apartment layout.

6. Ask Questions

Before reaching any conclusion and signing the lease, it is always better to ask the landlord about every basic detail. Especially if you are confused or have any lingering concerns about anything.

7. Discuss Reasonable Modifications with your Landlord

Accessible apartments should already have the required modifications, but different people may need different accommodations. Discuss the possibility of any additional modifications that would help you function safely and efficiently in the unit with the landlord before signing a lease since it will be harder to negotiate once you’ve moved in.

Make Your Move Congratulations!

Hunting for an apartment is quite a stressful job and, once you’ve signed the lease, you have done the hard part.

Read Also: FAQs When Apartment Hunting