Sunday, February 05, 2017

Another Developer/Landlord Agrees To Retrofit Recently-Constructed Apartment Building, Agreeing To Cough Up $50K In Damages To Non-Profit Group To Settle Lawsuit Alleging Failure To Follow Handicap Accessibility Requirements Under Fair Housing Act

In Richmond, Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:
  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia Inc., a statewide fair housing nonprofit organization based in Richmond, said [] it has settled a discrimination case with a Richmond developer, architect and construction company involving an apartment building in Shockoe Bottom.

    The lawsuit claimed that Historic Housing, SWA Architects and SWA Construction Inc. failed to design and construct The Lofts at River’s Fall at 1810 E. Cary St. in accordance with handicap accessibility requirements for new construction under the federal Fair Housing Act.

    The developer, architect and contractor agreed to retrofit the property to make it accessible and compensate HOME for damages of $50,000. The settlement resolves all claims in this case, according to the nonprofit group.
    The Lofts at River’s Fall is a four-story apartment building with 129 units, a pool and fitness center that was finished about three years ago.

    Also named in the suit were Bacon Housing SCP L.P. and Canal Walk Lofts IV L.P., which are described in the filing as Richmond owners and developers during design and construction of The Lofts.

    Under terms of the agreement, the defendants agreed to retrofit the complex by making extensive modifications, including alterations to ensure accessible bathrooms and kitchens. They also agreed to make parking spaces and storage units accessible.

    “We commend the developers, builders and architects of The Lofts at River’s Fall for their willingness to come to the table with us and work on an accessibility plan that will ultimately make this complex an equal housing opportunity for residents and guests with mobility disabilities,” said Helen Hardiman, vice president of HOME.

    The Fair Housing Act requires all covered multifamily dwellings designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 1991 to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

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