Since the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design went into effect, it is the dominant conclusion by most ADA experts that timeshares are subject to the same accessibility standards as hotels. Prior to the introduction of the updated standards, both timeshare developers and timeshare owners had mostly focused on complying with the Fair Housing Act when timeshares were either being constructed or modified.
The updated 2010 standards also impacted timeshares by addressing elements commonly present in many timeshare developments. These features include pools, boat ramps, golf courses, children’s play areas and spas. Any new construction or alterations commencing after March 15, 2012 must comply with the new standards.
It is true that the updated 2010 ADA standards provide for an exemption when a “guest room” in a timeshare or condo-style hotel is owned or “substantially controlled” by someone other than the entity that operates the overall facility. However, experts often agree that it is not totally clear what “substantially controlled” means. For example, if a timeshare business operates with a reservation number, a front desk, laundry service and housekeeping service, it likely falls under ADA standards that apply to hotels. The mere fact that units are owned by various individuals does not provide an exemption, according to various experts with experience in this area.
The 2010 standards do provide an exemption for timeshares that complied with the original 1991 standards at the time the 2010 update occurred. Such timeshare facilities are note required to comply with the newer standards until alterations or renovations occur at a later date.
Builders and Developers Respond
Most experts are in agreement that timeshares must fully comply with the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. For this reason, most builders and developers have constructed timeshares in adherence to both FHA and ADA standards to avoid potential issues later on. This cautious stance has undoubtedly resulted in expanded timeshare accessibility for those with disabilities.
Access Advocates is dedicated to seeking the enforcement of all provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act. If you have a question about timeshare accessibility or another building or facility, please contact us.