U.S. DOJ Civil Rights Division News
The Justice Department today announced a settlement with the architects and civil engineers involved in the design and construction of multifamily housing complexes located in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. The department’s lawsuit alleges that nine multifamily housing complexes with more than 800 units covered by the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements were designed and built without required accessible features. No settlement has been reached with the developer, builder or former owners of these properties, who are alleged to have violated not only the Fair Housing Act, but also the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Under the settlement, which was approved today by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi yesterday evening, nine architects and civil engineers will pay a total of $865,000 to make the complexes for which they were responsible accessible to persons with disabilities. They will also pay $60,000 to compensate aggrieved persons harmed by the inaccessible housing alleged in the government’s lawsuit. The settlement requires these defendants to undergo training on the Fair Housing Act and to provide periodic reports to the government.
“Persons with disabilities are entitled to equal access to housing under the Fair Housing Act,” said Eric Halperin, Senior Counsel and Special Counsel for Fair Lending in the Civil Rights Division. “This settlement makes clear that the department takes seriously the accessibility requirements for multifamily housing.”
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