Kentucky Community Settles Claims of Disability-Based Discrimination

In early December, the owners, developers, architect, and civil engineers of a 276-unit rental community in Louisville, Ky., settled a lawsuit in which those involved in the design and construction of the complex were accused of discriminating against people with disabilities, according to the Justice Department.

The lawsuit arose from a HUD complaint filed by a former resident, who was represented by a Kentucky-based fair housing organization. HUD referred the matter to the Justice Department, which conducted its own investigation and subsequently filed the lawsuit in August 2010.

Under the settlement, the defendants agreed to pay $275,000 to compensate 29 individuals allegedly harmed by inaccessible housing. In addition, they will pay all costs related to making the community accessible to persons with disabilities. The retrofitting includes modifying walkways, removing steps, providing accessible curb ramps, and providing accessible walks to site amenities, such as the clubhouse, pool, mailbox, and trash facilities. It also requires the defendants to reconfigure thermostats and outlets to accessible heights, increase door widths, and reconfigure bathrooms and kitchens.

“The Fair Housing Act requires equal access to housing for persons with disabilities,” according to a statement by Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, “and this comprehensive resolution will ensure equal access at this apartment complex and compensate those injured by the defendants’ failure to provide accessible housing.”

Source: U.S. Department of Justice