Shopping for an apartment can be an eye-opening experience for people with disabilities and their families. Although the Fair Housing Amendments Act has guidelines in place for apartment complexes that were built after 1991, you'll find that the difference between newer units can still vary dramatically. 

Older complexes may not have been updated for accessibility at all, or you may be given the choice of making upgrades yourself. Fortunately, you can make the process easier by seeking a rental that offers disability access apartments from the very beginning. While you are on your tour, be sure to follow these tips to make sure that the apartment fits your child's needs.

Check Out the Bathroom and Kitchen

The bathroom and kitchen areas are where many people experience the most challenges. If your child is planning to live alone, then you need to make sure that they can prepare meals and bathe safely and comfortably. Disabled access apartments often have features such as walk-in showers, lowered countertops and appliances with the controls near the front rather than the back. Have your child move around the kitchen and bathroom as if they were performing their daily tasks to make sure that everything works for them.

Look at the Floor Plan

You can start looking for accessibility in the floor plan as you walk up to the door. Disabled access apartments are typically located on the ground floor unless there is an elevator nearby. There should also be a seamless transition over the entrance that allows people with limited mobility to easily make it inside with minimal to no assistance. Once you are inside the apartment, look for wider hallways and doorways that allow someone to easily turn around and get from room to room. Ideally, the flooring should be a flat, non-skid surface such as vinyl tile or low-pile carpeting.

Consider Outdoor Accessibility

Most people also need to be able to get around outside of their apartment. Disabled access apartments should have designated parking spaces for people with disabilities. There should be adequate spaces for the residents, and finding a space near your child's future apartment is always nice. You'll also want to tour the complex to see if your child can easily get to common areas such as the place where they might need to pick up their mail, the main office and any amenities such as a pool or laundry room.

To learn more about disabled access apartments, contact an apartment complex near you.