The property management company is facing a lawsuit by the DOJ for failing to build apartment buildings under ADA and FHA.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against J. Randolph Parry Architects, PC, and eight owners of fifteen apartment buildings the firm has built in violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA ), including “failure to design and build housing units and related facilities to make them accessible to people with disabilities”. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The DOJ found that senior residential real estate was built without “barriers to access,” including “inaccessible pedestrian walkways to building entrances, inaccessible pedestrian walkways from residential units to facilities, inaccessible parking spaces, doorways that are too narrow for a wheelchair user, environmental controls applicable to a person using a wheelchair used, too high or too low, as well as inaccessible bathrooms and kitchens. “
The government lawsuit seeks to update the properties and pay the defendants monetary damages. In addition, the department wants to make sure that the defendants will not be able to design apartment buildings in the same way in the future.
Photo by Karla Alexander on Unsplash
“The Fair Housing Act and the Disabled Americans Act have been law for more than a quarter of a century, and there is no excuse for owners and architects to continue developing properties that do not meet the accessibility requirements of those laws,” said the assistant attorney general Eric Three Cushion from the Civil Rights Division. “This blatant disregard for federal law must stop now. We will hold those who ignore their legal obligations to design and build apartment buildings for people with disabilities accountable. “
The fifteen violated properties identified in the lawsuit include: “Traditions of Hanover, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Traditions from Hershey, Palmyra, Pennsylvania; Chestnut Knoll, Boyertown, Pennsylvania; Arbor Square, Harleysville, Pennsylvania; Cedar Views Apartments, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The Birches, Newtown, Pennsylvania; The Lifequest Nursing Center Addition, Quakertown, Pennsylvania; Keystone Villa, Douglasville, Pennsylvania; Alcoeur Gardens, Brick Community, New Jersey; Alcoeur Gardens, Toms River, New Jersey; Church Hill Village, Newtown, Connecticut; Heritage Green, Mechanicsville, Virginia; Homestead, Hamilton Township, New Jersey; The Rafaella Addition Villa, Pleasantville, New Jersey; and Woodbury Mews Colonial House, Woodbury, New Jersey. “
In March, the DOJ closed a similar lawsuit with an Ohio apartment building developer who had also violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by building 32 units that were inaccessible to people with disabilities. At the time, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said, “For more than a quarter of a century, federal law has mandated that apartment buildings be built with accessible facilities. This lawsuit is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts to ensure that those who are actively involved in the development of apartment buildings meet their responsibilities to ensure that the properties are accessible to people with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act. “
“The purpose of the Fair Housing Act is to promote equal housing opportunities and end discrimination,” added US attorney David DeViller for the southern Ohio district. The DOJ will continue to litigate companies that do not take this seriously.
Justice Department files disability discrimination lawsuit by architects and owners of 15 complexes in four states
Department of Justice resolved disability discrimination lawsuit by developers and franchisors of 32 Ohio condos