United States v. Humphrey-Stavrou Associates (D. Md.)
On September 27, 2022, the United States filed a complaint and partial proposed consent order in United States v. Humphrey-Stavrou Associates, Inc., et al. in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The complaint alleged that Defendants discriminated against persons with disabilities, in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, by failing to design and construct covered multifamily dwellings in a manner that makes them accessible to persons with disabilities. Specifically, the United States’ complaint alleged that Defendants designed 17 properties, most of which are funded with Low Income Housing Tax Credits, without the required accessibility features.
The court approved the partial consent order on November 22, 2022, in which Defendants Stavrou Associates Inc. and related entities agreed to make extensive retrofits to remove accessibility barriers in housing units and common areas at 11 multi-family housing complexes in Maryland, pay all costs related to the retrofits, pay $175,000 into a settlement fund to compensate individuals harmed by the inaccessible housing, and pay a civil penalty of $10,000 to the United States. On October 19, 2023, the court approved a second partial consent order, in which the remaining defendants, Humphrey-Stavrou Associates Inc., and related entities, agreed to make extensive retrofits to remove accessibility barriers at the three properties Humphrey-Stavrou Associates Inc. still owns, pay all costs related to the retrofits, deposit a sum of $410,000 in an account to be used to retrofit the three properties now owned by other entities, pay $60,000 into a settlement fund to compensate individuals who were harmed by the inaccessible conditions, and pay a civil penalty of $5,000 to United States.
Both settlements also require the Defendants to receive training about the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, to ensure that their future multi-family housing construction complies with these laws, and to provide periodic reports to the United States.