FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH
DEVELOPER, ARCHITECT AND CIVIL ENGINEER OF
OLATHE, KANSAS APARTMENT COMPLEXES
WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Justice Department today announced that it has settled a lawsuit regarding alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act.
The complaint alleged that the developer, architect, and civil engineer of the Homestead Apartment Homes and Wyncroft Hill Apartments in Olathe, Kansas violated the Fair Housing Act's requirement that multifamily housing built since 1991 be accessible to persons with disabilities.
Under the consent decree, entered into U.S. District Court on January 6, 2003, defendants will perform more than $350,000 in retrofits at the two apartment complexes in order to make them accessible, establish a $214,443 fund that will be available to make accessibility retrofits to other housing in the community, pay $130,000 to a fund for the compensation of persons with disabilities who experienced difficulty living at or visiting the inaccessible apartment complexes, and pay a $20,000 civil penalty.
"The Fair Housing Act ensures that these complexes are designed and constructed to be accessible to persons with disabilities," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "We are pleased that the individuals in this case have agreed to resolve this matter without further litigation because it means that additional accessible housing will soon be available to the people who need it."
Under the Fair Housing Act, all units in elevator buildings, ground-floor units in other buildings, as well as public and common use areas in all recently built apartment and condominium complexes must include certain features of accessible design that allow persons with disabilities to use them. These features include doors that are wide enough for wheelchairs to pass through; kitchens and bathrooms with enough space to allow those in wheelchairs to maneuver and use the appliances, sinks, toilets, and bathtubs; and accessible routes that allow people using wheelchairs to get into and move around apartments and public and common use areas without climbing steps or going up steeply-sloped sidewalks.
Any individuals who had difficulty living in, attempting to rent, or visiting Homestead Apartment Homes, Wyncroft Hill Apartments, Indian Meadows Apartments, or Ridgeview Apartments because of the lack of accessible features, should contact the Justice Department at (800) 896-7743.
Additional information is available on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's website at www.hud.gov and the U.S. Department of Justice website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing.