If you've got a physical disability and need an apartment with accessible features, did you know that many of the top apartment search Web sites let you narrow your search in this way? Also, did you know that there are several regional and local search sites that feature listings of accessible apartments?
As with any specific feature you need in an apartment, when you're looking for an accessible apartment, it's important to make sure you don't waste time checking out ones that don't fit the bill.
Here's how to take advantage of Web resources so you can run an efficient accessible apartment search:
What Are Accessible Features?
Accessible features generally mean physical modifications to an apartment that allow for greater and easier mobility, whether on foot or by wheelchair. Common examples include wider doorways and lower electrical outlets (to accommodate apartment dwellers who use wheelchairs), and grab bars by the toilet and shower in the bathroom (to enable easier maneuvering).
Use Apartment Search Sites to Find Accessible Apartments
To limit your search to accessible apartments, you generally must select "Disability Access" as a special feature or amenity on each individual search site. To view these options, you may need to indicate you wish to perform an advanced search.
Here are examples of some top apartment search sites that offer an accessible search, and how to access it:
- ApartmentGuide.com - Under "Special Features," select "Disability Access."
- Apartments.com - After searching for your desired location, click to open the menu under "Amenities"; then under "Community Amenities," select "Disability Access."
- ForRent.com - Under "Community Amenities," select "Disability Access."
- MyNewPlace.com - Select "Search by Amenities," and then under "Special Features," select "Disability Access."
- Rentals.com - After searching for your desired location, select "Handicapped Accessible" under "Property Features" and/or "Handicap Access" under "Community Feature" (if available).
(Full disclosure: I contribute a monthly blog post as a guest blogger for MyNewPlace.com.)
Dedicated Accessible Apartment Search Sites
There are several Web sites that are dedicated to helping apartment hunters with disabilities find an apartment that has the accessible features they need.
To check whether such a site exists for your area, go to your favorite Web search engine (such as Google or Yahoo), and search for the name of your city, town, or county, plus the words "accessible apartments."
Following is a listing of some accessible apartment search sites and the areas they cover:
- Socialserve.com - A nonprofit organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Socialserve.com maintains individual state search engine sites where apartment hunters can find affordable, accessible apartments.
From the home page, click on the state that interests you, and then select a county, city, or region.
Then, click on the "Accessible" tab. This will bring up a range of new parameters you can select to specify any particular accessibility features you need. For example, you can check the box next to "accessible parking close to unit," "ramp entry," "front controls on stove/cook-top," and "raised toilet" to narrow your search.
Currently, Socialserve.com maintains accessible search sites for: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
- MassAccess - The Accessible Housing Registry. MassAccess aims to make it easier for people to find affordable housing in Massachusetts, with an emphasis on helping people with disabilities find accessible apartments. Just check the "Accessible/Adaptable" box when performing a search.
- Michigan Housing Locator. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority maintains a statewide apartment search site that features accessible units. To find one, just visit the Michigan Housing Locator and be sure to click the box under "Amenities" that says "Contains accessible units."