Legal Aid of North Carolina recently announced it had settled a housing discrimination complaint filed against Addison Ridge Apartments, and the individuals and entities that developed, owned, and managed the property, on behalf of an individual with a disability who uses a wheelchair.
The complaint, filed with the North Carolina Human Relations Commission, alleged violations of the design and construction requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act and the North Carolina State Fair Housing Act, including the lack of an accessible parking space on an accessible route at the building where the individual’s unit was located. The complaint also alleged that the property failed to address the individual’s reasonable accommodation request for a reserved handicap-accessible parking space near the entrance of the individual’s unit and for an assigned mailbox in the community mail center that the individual could safely reach.
As a result of the conciliation agreement, Respondents agreed to:
- adopt a new reasonable accommodation and modification policy that complies with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act;
- require fair housing training for staff, with an emphasis on reasonable accommodations and modifications;
- create or otherwise ensure accessible parking on an accessible route is provided throughout the community; and
- pay the individual $50,000 in damages and attorney’s fees.
Respondents affirmed that their rental policies, practices, and activities concerning real property are and shall continue to be in compliance with federal and state fair housing laws. The laws prohibit discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability.
“The Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are afforded the protections of the Fair Housing Act, including making reasonable accommodations for tenants with mobility impairments so they may have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their housing,” said Michael Manset, Staff Attorney with the Fair Housing Project.
“We commend the Respondents in this case for implementing a new policy at all its properties across North Carolina, remediating the design and construction violations to ensure the property is accessible to people with disabilities, and working quickly with our office to reach a resolution in this case,” said Kelly Clarke, co-director and managing attorney with the Fair Housing Project.
Legal Aid of North Carolina’s involvement in this litigation was made possible in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program.
More from this Newsletter Issue: December 2023
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