Is Your Apartment Complex ADA Accessible?
Literally hundreds of new apartment buildings have been built recently in the United States to accommodate the need for housing. You would think they would be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for accessibility, right? Read on.
The DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio have filed a lawsuit against Ohio-based Miller-Valentine Operations Inc. and affiliated companies, owners, developers and builders of 82 multifamily housing complexes located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. These complexes were built for occupancy as far back as 1996 and as late as 2016. The ADA laws went into effect in 1991!
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to design and construct housing units and related facilities to make them accessible to persons with disabilities in compliance with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The 82 complexes contain more than 3,000 units that are required by the FHA to have accessible features, and most contain public spaces that are required to comply with the ADA.
The complaint alleges not only that Miller-Valentine designed and built multi-family housing complexes that are not accessible to people with disabilities, but also that Miller-Valentine took public money to build those complexes and yet still built them such that some citizens wouldn’t be able to live there. The lawsuit alleges that the 82 properties have significant accessibility barriers including:
steps leading to building entrances;
non-existent or excessively sloped pedestrian routes from apartment units to site amenities (e.g., picnic areas, dumpsters, clubhouse/leasing offices);
inaccessible bathrooms and kitchens;
inaccessible door hardware;
and insufficient maneuvering space at unit entrances and entrances to common use areas that make those entrances inaccessible to many people with disabilities.