FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES AGREEMENT WITH GEORGIA DEVELOPER TO MAKE SITES ACCESSIBLE TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Justice Department today announced a settlement with a Georgia developer to resolve complaints of alleged violations to the Fair Housing Act.
The complaint alleges that John Barrett, and several companies with which he is associated, built seven apartment complexes that did not provide adequate and accessible features to persons with disabilities. The apartment complexes are located in Athens and Statesboro, Georgia and Greenville, North Carolina.
The defendants admitted in the consent decree their failure to design and construct the subject properties in compliance with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. If approved by the court, the consent decree will require defendants to retrofit the public and common use areas of the seven complexes and the interiors of 176 apartments at the complexes.
Among the inaccessible features which will be retrofitted are:
•bedroom and bathroom doors that are too narrow to accommodate persons who use wheelchairs;
•clear floor space in bathrooms that is inadequate for use by persons in wheelchairs;
•excessive sloping of the pavement leading up to dwelling unit entrances; and,
•thresholds to entrances which make it difficult for persons who use wheelchairs to enter units.
"Failing to construct accessible multi-family housing is against the law and we are committed to pursuing these cases," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
Persons who want more information regarding this consent decree should contact the Department of Justice at 800-896-7743 or 202-514-4713. Persons who believe that their apartment complex or condominium development is not designed or constructed in accordance with the Fair Housing Act, may contact the Department of Justice at the above-noted numbers or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at 800-669-9777.
Additional information about the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act is available on HUD's website at http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/index.cfm.
For more information on the work of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, go to http://www.usdoj.gov/crt.