Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website accessibility claims continue to be filed across the nation and waves of demand letters alleging a business’ website is inaccessible in violation of the ADA continue to be sent to a wide range of businesses, including brokerages. Unfortunately, there is conflict among federal circuit courts as to the application of the ADA to websites which makes “compliance” difficult for businesses. That being said, the Department of Justice has recently laid out guidelines for website accessibility compliance which can be found here. Further, your Missouri REALTORS® Risk Management department would like to provide you with some risk management tips to help you navigate this difficult area of the law:
- Assess your website’s current accessibility, and create a plan to take steps to address and enhance any accessibility issues.
- Ask your website provider about how they are addressing your site’s accessibility, and be sure to address ADA website accessibility and indemnification in your contract with the provider.
- Consult a website accessibility expert to create a plan for addressing website accessibility issues.
- Include an accessibility statement on your website, along with contact information where individuals with disabilities may report difficulty accessing the website and can seek additional assistance accessing information or services. A sample of such a statement available from NAR can be found here.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, Missouri REALTORS® has created a “Keeping It Legal” video on the topic of “ADA Website Compliance.“ The National Association of REALTORS® also has several resources including videos, articles, and guidelines available on the topic which can be found here. A template response letter that can provided to your private counsel for review is available here.