FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
IDAHO DEVELOPER TO BUILD SIXTEEN NEW APARTMENT UNITS AND PAY $42,000 TO SETTLE HOUSING DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT WITH JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an agreement reached with the U.S. Justice Department, an Idaho developer whose apartment complex was designed and constructed in violation of the Fair Housing Act will pay $42,000 in damages and penalties, and will build new accessible housing.
In a settlement filed today in U.S. District Court in Boise, Idaho, Allan Horsley and Horsley Construction resolved allegations that they violated the federal Fair Housing Act by failing to make the Elms Apartments, a twelve-unit apartment complex in Pocatello, Idaho, accessible to people with disabilities. The Justice Department alleged, and Horsley admitted, that the common areas of the apartment complex were not readily accessible to people with disabilities, and that, due to six-inch steps and inaccessible door handles at the apartment entrances, there was no accessible route into and through the Elms units.
The Justice Department further alleged, and Horsley admitted, that the individual units at the Elms were inaccessible to people with disabilities because doorways were too narrow; light switches, electrical outlets, and thermostats were placed in inaccessible locations; and bathroom walls lacked reinforcements to allow for the installation of grab bars. The complaint also alleged that the bathrooms and kitchens at the Elms were too small to accommodate people using wheelchairs.
"The Fair Housing Act requires that apartment buildings and condominiums be designed and constructed so as to allow people with disabilities to live in them. We are firmly committed to enforcing the rights of people with disabilities regarding adequate access to housing," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
Under the Fair Housing Act, apartment complexes and condominiums with four or more units must include accessible common areas and amenities; doors wide enough to accommodate people who use wheelchairs; bathroom walls with reinforcements for the installation of grab bars; and bathrooms and kitchens large enough for people who use wheelchairs.
Under the agreement announced today, Horsley agreed to:
This case began when Intermountain Fair Housing Council filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), alleging that Horsley violated the Fair Housing Act by failing to design and construct the Elms so as to be accessible to persons with disabilities. After investigation, HUD issued a charge of discrimination, and Defendants elected to proceed in federal court, prompting the Department of Justice to file suit.
Any individuals who believe they suffered discrimination as a result of the inaccessibility of the Elms should contact the Justice Department at (800) 896-7743. Individuals who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination elsewhere should contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at (800) 669-9777. Additional information is available on the HUD website at www.hud.gov and the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing.