WASHINGTON – The Justice Department filed a lawsuit today in federal district court in Louisville against 25 defendants for failing to provide required accessible features for persons with disabilities at 11 multi-family housing developments in Louisville with over 900 covered ground floor units. This is the government’s first lawsuit in Kentucky alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act in the design and construction of multi-family housing.
“Persons with physical disabilities should have the same housing choices as other persons,” said Rena J. Comisac, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to pursue vigorously those who still have not gotten the message that failing to design and construct multi-family housing with basic features of accessibility violates the law.”
According to the government’s complaint, the public and common use areas of these developments have steps leading to covered dwelling units, lack walkway connections to covered dwelling units, lack accessible parking, and have routes leading to covered dwelling units that are too steeply sloped to be accessible to persons who use mobility assistance devices. Inside the dwelling units, doors and hallways are insufficiently wide, thermostats are mounted too high, and bathrooms and kitchens lack sufficient clear floor space for people who use wheelchairs. The complexes at issue are:
-Audubon Woods Condominiums
-Cooper Creek Village Apartments
-Gardens of Glenmary Village Condominiums
-Glenmary Village Apartments
-Glenmary Village Overlook Condominiums
-Renaissance St. Andrews Apartments
-Renaissance St. Andrews Condominiums
-Springs of Glenmary Village Condominiums
-Valley Farms Apartments
-Woodridge Lake Patio Homes
-Woods of St. Andrews Condominiums
The suit seeks a court order requiring the defendants to modify the complexes to bring them into compliance with federal laws and prohibiting future discrimination by the defendants. It also seeks monetary damages to compensate victims and a civil penalty to be paid to the government to vindicate the public interest.
Fighting illegal housing discrimination is a top priority of the Justice Department. Since Jan. 1, 2001, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed 235 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act, 110 of which have alleged discrimination based on disability.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.