Sunday, December 25, 2016

Mississippi Developer, Others Agree To Shell Out $350K & Make Substantial Retrofits To Six Housing Complexes In Settlement Of Fair Housing Suit Alleging Construction Of Rental Apartments, Condos That Were Inaccessible To Persons w/ Disabilities

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • The Justice Department announced [] that the developers of six multi-family housing complexes in southern Mississippi have agreed to pay $350,000 to settle claims that they violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act by building apartment complexes that were inaccessible to persons with disabilities. As part of the settlement, the defendants also agreed to make substantial retrofits to remove accessibility barriers at the six complexes, which have nearly 500 covered units.

    Under the settlement, [...] Mississippi-based developers Ike W. Thrash, Dawn Properties Inc., Southern Cross Construction Company Inc. and other affiliated companies will pay all costs related to the retrofits, $250,000 to compensate 25 individuals harmed by the inaccessible housing and $100,000 in civil penalties. The defendants will undergo training, ensure that any future construction complies with federal accessibility laws and make periodic reports to the department.
    Under the settlement, the defendants will make retrofits, including eliminating steps; making bathrooms more usable; providing accessible curb ramps and parking; and providing accessible walks to site amenities such as the clubhouses, pools and mailboxes, at [six] Mississippi complexes[.]
    The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex and familial status. Among other things, the Fair Housing Act requires all multifamily housing constructed after March 13, 1991, to have basic accessibility features, including accessible routes without steps to all ground floor units and units accessible to wheelchair users and others with disabilities.

    The Americans with Disabilities Act requires, among other things, that places of public accommodation, such as rental offices at multifamily housing complexes designed and constructed for first occupancy after Jan. 26, 1993, be accessible to persons with disabilities.

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