Earlier this month the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with the architects and civil engineers involved in the design and construction of a number of multifamily housing complexes located in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. DOJ’s complaint alleged that nine multifamily housing complexes with more than 800 units covered by the Fair Housing Act’s (FHA) accessibility requirements were designed (and built) without the required accessible features.
Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, which has now been approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, nine civil engineers and architects will pay a total of $865,000 to makes the respective housing complexes accessible to persons with disabilities. They will also pay $60,000 to compensate persons who claim to have been aggrieved by the inaccessible housing that was constructed. As also happens in cases like this, the DOJ requires that the defendants take FHA training and provide periodic reports.
No settlement has been reached with the developer, builder, or former owners of these properties, who are alleged to have violated not only the FHA, but also the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Here at the Fair Housing Defense blog, your editor has written about these topics before. Multifamily housing MUST be designed and constructed to be accessible. The law contains various standards and safe harbors that MUST be followed. Or you will really need to speak with a lawyer like me.
Just A Thought.