The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a single agreement with 19 building owners * who rent space in their buildings to shops and restaurants.
The agreement requires owners to repair their buildings in such a way that people with reduced mobility, such as wheelchair users, can come outside to shop or eat. Physical barriers, such as steps at an entrance, can keep people with disabilities out and cause discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Department of Justice inspected three buildings on 14th Street NW in Washington, DC to see if people with disabilities could enter the stores there. Two of the buildings had steps at the entrances and one did not have enough space at the entrance for wheelchair users to open the door independently and go in.
The building owners agreed to hire an architect to review their 19 buildings in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia to ensure the buildings could be used by people with disabilities. The owners agreed to fix any issues by the end of next year. Possible corrections are the installation of a ramp at steps or the installation of an automatic door opener if there is not enough space for wheelchair users. The renovation of the buildings is an important step in order to offer people with reduced mobility an equal opportunity to shop and dine in the shops and restaurants inside.
The ADA requires that shops and restaurants in new buildings ensure that the spaces their customers use in those buildings can be used by people with disabilities, such as B. by wheelchair users. When a company is in an older building, the company needs to make sure that barriers for people with disabilities are removed when it is easy to do. And when a company makes changes to a building, these changed areas must be made as useful as possible. These rules also apply to the companies who own the buildings that they rent to businesses such as shops and restaurants.
“Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 to end discrimination against people with disabilities in the way a building is designed, built, or modified,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Ministry of Justice. “Today’s agreement draws attention to the obligation of building owners to ensure that the space they rent to a store or restaurant complies with ADA rules. We welcome the owners’ collaboration with us in today’s agreement to make their buildings more usable for people with disabilities. “
This matter was handled by the Disability Rights Department of the Ministry’s Civil Rights Department. The Ministry of Justice plays a central role in promoting the national goal of equal opportunities, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. More information on the Civil Rights Department can be found at www.justice.gov/crt. For more information about ADA, please call the Department’s ADA toll-free information line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or visit www.ada.gov.
* The 19 building owners, all managed by companies managed by JC Reger Interests Inc. that operate as JCR Companies are:
- Hillwood SRR 1324 14th Street Investors LLC
- 1526 14th Street Investors LLC
- 1529 14th Street Investors LLC
- 601 King Street Investors LLC
- 1723 Conn Ave Investors LLC
- JCR Silver Hill Investors LLC
- 1519 Wisconsin Ave, Investors LLC
- JCR Pinefield South Investors LLC
- JCR Westview Corner Investors LLC
- 1515 Unit C-3 and C-9 Investors LLC
- JCR Lorton Station Investors LLC
- JCR Rutherford Crossing Investors LLC
- JCR Signal Hill Investors LLC
- JCR 916 G Street Investors LLC
- JCR Bel Air TC Investors LLC
- JCR Woodley Investors LLC
- JCR Krispy Korner Investors LLC
- JCR Innovation Investors LLC
- JCR Riverton Investors LLC