Saturday, July 25, 2015

Developer/Landlord Accused Of Building 23 Apartment Complexes w/ Features Inaccessible To People w/ Disabilities Agrees To Make Substantial Retrofits, Build New Complex w/ 100 Accessible Units, Pay $205K Buy-Off To Settle Discrimination Suit Brought By Civil Rights Feds

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • The Justice Department announced [] that developer Biafora’s Inc. (Biafora) and several affiliated companies have agreed to pay $205,000 and make substantial retrofits to remove accessibility barriers at multifamily apartment complexes. This agreement resolves the United States’ claims that Biafora violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act by building 23 apartment complexes in West Virginia and Pennsylvania with a variety of features that made them inaccessible to persons with disabilities.

    Under the terms of the agreement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, Biafora and the other defendants must take extensive actions to make the complexes accessible to persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.

    These corrective actions include replacing excessively sloped portions of sidewalks, installing properly sloped curb walkways to allow persons with disabilities to access units from sidewalks and parking areas, replacing cabinets in bathrooms and kitchens to provide sufficient room for wheelchair users, widening doorways and reducing door threshold heights.

    The settlement also requires the defendants to construct a new apartment complex in Morgantown, West Virginia, with 100 accessible units. The defendants will pay $180,000 to establish a settlement fund for the purpose of compensating individuals with disabilities who have been impacted by the accessibility violations and $25,000 as a civil penalty.

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