June 13, 2000
The Honorable Bob Graham
United States Senator
2252 Killearn Center Boulevard
Tallahasse, Florida 32308
Dear Senator Graham:
This letter responds to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Mr. xxxxx xxxxxxxx, regarding the lack of open-frame beds for individuals with disabilities in hotel rooms. Mr. xxxxxxxx proposes that accessible hotel rooms have open-frame beds, rather than closed-frame beds, for the use of individuals with disabilities. Please excuse our delay in tesponding.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Department of Justice issues regulations that detail ADA requirements for over six million places of public accommodations, including hotels. The Department's existing rules contain requirements on what constitutes an accessible hotel room and also requires that hotels make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to provide accessibility but would not fundamentally alter the hotel's operations. The Department has never provided guidance on whether hotels are required to have open-frame beds in accessible guest rooms to accommodate persons with disabilities who travel with portable mechanical lifts. However, it appears that it would be a reasonable modification for a hotel to provide open-frame beds and would not fundamentally alter the hotel's operations to do so.
In the coming months, the Department will be undertaking additional rulemaking on our ADA regulations. We will take Mr. xxxxxxxx's comments into consideration during that process.
I hope that this information will assist you in responding to your constituent. Please do not hesitate to contact the Department if we can be of assistance in other matters.
Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division