Justice Division Settles Lawsuit Alleging Incapacity-Primarily based Discrimination in Residential Rental Properties in North Dakota | OPA
The Justice Department announced today that Hampton Corporation Inc. and several related individuals and companies have agreed to settle a federal lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to design and build apartment complexes and rental office in North Dakota to make them accessible to people with disabilities. The Ministry of Justice previously resolved claims against the architect and engineer who were involved in the design of one of the four apartment complexes at issue.
“For over 30 years the Fair Housing Act has required new housing complexes to be accessible to people with disabilities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. “By requiring changes to the real estate, this settlement will break down significant barriers for people with disabilities in their own four walls and advance the Fair Housing Act’s promise to make housing accessible to all.”
“Our US Attorney General and the Department of Justice are committed to combating discriminatory treatment in the housing sector,” said Acting US Attorney Nicholas W. Chase for the North Dakota District. “We hope that these enforcement measures and similar measures will deter developers, architects and engineers wherever they cannot compromise by ignoring longstanding accessibility requirements. Civil Rights Coordinator for our office in our Civil Department, AUSA Tara Iversen, along with Paralegal Michelle Erdmann, teamed up with talented litigators from the Department of Housing and Civil Law Enforcement for the Department of Justice to create a great outcome for people with disabilities in North Dakota and the region . “
Today’s settlement, which must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the North Dakota County, settles a lawsuit the department filed in March 2020. The lawsuit alleged that there were significant physical barriers in four apartment complexes and one rental office designed and built by Hampton Corporation Inc .; Daniel Stauss; Scott Stauss; Church Tower Apts LLC; HDD Inc .; and Times Square Townhomes II Inc.
Under the terms of the settlement, defendants are required to correct inaccessible features in the common areas of the properties and within each unit, including: removing steps; replace steeply sloping sidewalks; Adding accessible routes to mailboxes and location arrival points; Make sure that obstacles do not protrude into the circuit path; Installation of door handles on doors; Widening doors; Retrofitting of bathrooms for wheelchair users; and moving sockets and controls within reach of a wheelchair user. The defendants are also required to attend fair housing training, contribute $ 100,000 to a settlement fund (which, along with the division’s earlier agreement with the architect and engineer, increases the settlement fund to a total of $ 120,000) for people who, as a result of the Lack of accessible features have sustained damage on the land to pay a civil fine of $ 5,000 to the United States and ensure that any future homes they design or build comply with the FHA.
The properties with suspected violations are the following:
- Row houses in Charleswood, 1908 Burlington Drive in West Fargo, North Dakota;
- Steeples Apartments at 2850 and 2950 36th Avenue South in Grand Forks, North Dakota;
- South Hampton Townhomes at 3174, 3274, and 3374 36th Avenue South in Grand Forks, North Dakota;
- Carrington Court Townhouse Apartments located at 3383 Primrose Court in Grand Forks, North Dakota; and
- The rental office serving Carrington Court Townhouse Apartments, South Hampton Townhomes and Steeples Apartments is located at 3001 36th Avenue South in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The Department of Justice enforces the Fair Housing Act through the U.S. Attorney General’s Office and Civil Rights Department, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, and marital status. In addition to other protective measures, the FHA requires that apartment buildings with four or more units that are after the 13th to all units in a building that is accessible by an elevator. The ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination in public accommodation, including the rental agency at issue here. Full and fair enforcement of the FHA, ADA and their mandates to integrate people with disabilities are top priorities for the Civil Rights Division.
Individuals who believe that they or someone they know may have had difficulty because of the inaccessible conditions in any of these properties, either if they or someone connected to them lived there or was considering living there, should refer to 1- 800-896. Contact the Department of Justice at -7743 ext 9994. For more information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces, visit www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe they may have been a victim of housing discrimination can call the Department of Justice at 1-800-896-7743, email the Department of Justice at [email protected], or report online at www.civilrights. Submit justice.gov.