This Settlement Agreement is between the United States; Jubilee Apartments, Inc.; Falcon Development Company; and J. Lamont Langworthy (respondents) to settle alleged violations of Section 804(f)(3)(C) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C) with respect to the design and construction of the apartments at Palermo Apartments, formerly known as Jubilee Apartments.
Falcon Development Company is the developer of Palermo Apartments (Palermo), which are located at 5870 W. Harmon Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada. Falcon Construction Services built Palermo. J. Lamont Langworthy is the architect who designed Palermo. Palermo is an apartment complex comprised of eleven (11) buildings with 168 units, 84 of which are ground-floor units. The 84 ground-floor units at Palermo are "covered multi-family dwellings" within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(7)(A) (the Act).
By letter dated January 27, 2000, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) referred to the United States Department of Justice, for possible pattern and practice litigation, a housing discrimination complaint against then-named Jubilee Apartments, (HUD File Number 09-98-1087), alleging violations of the design and construction provisions of the Fair Housing Act (the Act). After investigating the complaints, HUD concluded that a basis may exist for the commencement of proceedings against the owner, developer, architect, and civil engineer of this property for failure to design and construct the units there to include the accessibility features mandated by the Act.
In general, the accessibility features of the Act require that, for buildings with four or more units, all ground floor units in non-elevator buildings, such as the apartments at Palermo, include certain basic accessibility and adaptability design features intended to make housing usable or adaptable by a person who is, or who becomes, disabled. The design requirements under the Act include: (a) public use and common use areas that are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; (b) doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises that are sufficiently wide to allow passage by disabled persons in wheelchairs; (c) an accessible route into and through the dwelling; (d) light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and environmental controls in accessible locations; (e) reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and (f) usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
As originally designed, the United States alleges that the ground floor units at Palermo did not fully comply with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(C). For instance, the United States alleges that as originally designed and constructed, the apartments at Palermo failed to provide accessible public and common use areas, as well as accessible routes into the dwellings. Respondents deny any violations of the Fair Housing Act, and their signatures on this Agreement do not constitute an admission of any liability. Nevertheless, respondents cooperated with the United States to remedy the violations alleged by the United States.
- Statement of Agreement
All parties agree that the controversy outlined above should be resolved without judicial action. This Settlement Agreement (Agreement) constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this Agreement will be enforceable under its provisions. This Agreement is limited to the factual allegations set forth in Section II above and it does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the Fair Housing Act or any other federal law. Nor does this Agreement affect the continuing responsibility of respondents to comply with all aspects of the Fair Housing Act. The parties further agree that this Agreement is in settlement of a disputed claim and that no findings on the merits of the claims of the United States have been made.
- General Prohibition
Respondents, their officers, employees, agents, successors and all other persons in active concert or participation with any or all of them will not violate the Fair Housing Act 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.
- Retrofit Actions
- Public Use and Common Areas
Respondents have taken the following retrofit actions:
- Replaced knob hardware on the exterior of primary entrance doors to the covered dwelling units with lever hardware;
- Restriped the parking lot to create access aisles at least 60 inches wide at all designated accessible spaces; and
- Lowered the threshold on entrance to clubhouse public bathrooms to no more than 3/4" beveled.
Respondent Jubilee Apartments, Inc. will complete, within six (6) months of the date of this Agreement, the following retrofit actions:
- Install handrails compliant with ANSI 117, section 4.8.5 on the following walkways:
- Building 1, walkway to Units 169 and 170;
- Building 1, walkway to Units 171 and 172;
- Building 6, east-west sidewalk on south side of building;
- Building 6, north-south sidewalk on west side of building; and
- North of swimming pool, east-west sidewalk through picnic area.
- Adjust the slope of curb ramps to building entrances at the following locations to no more than 8.33%:
- Building 3;
- Building 6 (northeast corner);
- Building 10; and
- Building 11.
- Interior Units
Within six (6) months of the date of this Agreement, respondent Jubilee Apartments, Inc. will adjust the thresholds at the primary entrance door to ground floor units at Palermo to be compliant with ANSI 117.1, section 4.13.8.
- Notice of nondiscrimination Policy
- Within ten (10) days of the date of this Agreement, respondents shall post and prominently display at the sales or rental offices of all covered multi-family housing owned or operated by it, a sign no smaller than ten (10) by fourteen (14) inches indicating that all dwellings are available for sale or rental on a nondiscriminatory basis. The respondents shall also post such a sign in the sales or rental office of any other covered multi-family housing developed or acquired by it within the next three (3) years within ten (10) days of occupancy of the sales or rental office. A poster that comports with 24 C.F.R. Part 110 will satisfy this requirement, copies of which will be provided to the respondents by the United States.
- For three (3) years from the date of this Agreement, respondents shall place in all future media advertising regarding any covered, multi-family dwellings designed or constructed by the respondents, in a conspicuous position, a statement that the dwelling units meet the accessibility features for persons with disabilities required by the federal Fair Housing Act.
- Educational Program
Within thirty (30) days of the date of this Agreement, respondents shall provide to all of their supervisory employees, sales or rental agents, and site managers involved in the design, construction, rental, or sale of multi-family dwellings covered by the Act (personnel), a copy of this Agreement and shall also provide, for a period of three (3) years from the effective date of this Agreement, any such new personnel with a copy of this Agreement within thirty (30) days of assuming his or her responsibilities.
- Reporting Requirements and Record Retention
- Once a year for three (3) years after the effective date of this Agreement, respondents shall, for every covered, multi-family dwelling it intends to develop or build, submit to counsel for the United States (1) the information set forth in subparagraphs 1- 4. This reporting obligation by respondents is limited to projects for which respondents have applied for a building permit:
- The name(s) of the architect;
- The name and address of the project;
- A description of the project and the individual units; and
- A statement by the architect that he or she has reviewed the final version of the plans and that the plans comply with the Act and the Fair Housing Act Accessibility Guidelines, 56 Fed. Reg. 9472 (1991).
- Within eight (8) months of the date of this Agreement, respondent Jubilee Apartments, Inc. shall certify to the United States that the retrofit actions listed in Paragraphs V(A) and (B) have been performed to the common areas and interior units.
- For the term of this Agreement, respondents shall advise counsel for the United States in writing no later than fifteen (15) days after receipt of any written administrative or legal complaint against it, or against any of its employees or agents, regarding equal opportunity in housing.
- For the term of this Agreement, respondents are required to preserve all records related to this Agreement for all properties designed, constructed, owned, operated, or acquired by it. Upon reasonable notice to respondents, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy any records of theirs or inspect any developments or residential units under their control covered by the Act bearing on compliance with this Agreement at any and all reasonable times. The United States shall endeavor to minimize any inconvenience to the respondents from such inspections.
- Duration of Agreement and Enforcement
- The provisions of this Agreement shall remain in effect for three and one-half (3 ½) years after the date it has been signed by both representatives of both parties as evidenced by their signatures below.
- If the United States believes any provision of this Agreement has been violated, it shall promptly advise counsel for respondents in writing of the nature of that violation, and, within thirty (30) days of receipt of said written notice from the United States, the parties shall confer in a good faith attempt to resolve the issue. In the event the parties are not able to resolve this issue to the reasonable satisfaction of the United States, the United States may seek to enforce the Agreement, or any provision thereof, in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada through initiation of a lawsuit. Failure of the United States to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision of it with regard to any deadline or any other provision contained herein shall not be construed as a waiver by the United States of any right to do so.
Agreed to by the parties as indicated by the signatures of counsel below.
FOR THE UNITED STATES:
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
SUNNY E. PIETRAFESA
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
FOR JUBILEE APARTMENTS, INC.:
THERESA L. KITAY
Coughlin and Kitay
3091 Holcomb Bridge Road
Norcross, Georgia 30071
FOR JULIET PROPERTY COMPANY AND J. LAMONT LANGWORTHY:
Lionel, Sawyer & Collins
1700 Bank of America Plaza
300 South Fourth Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
1. For purposes of this Agreement, counsel for the United States is Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, P.O. Box 65998, Washington, D.C. 20035-5998. Reference should be made to DJ# 175-46-80.
Document Entered: November 29, 2001. > >