Settlement Reached for Fair Housing Act and ADA Violations
The U.S. Justice Department has made an announcement regarding a significant settlement with Maryland-based developer Humphrey-Stavrou Associates Inc. and related entities.
The settlement, amounting to $475,000, resolves claims that these entities violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The allegations centered around the failure to include required accessible features for individuals with disabilities, particularly those who use wheelchairs, at six multi-family housing complexes located across Maryland.
Accessibility Retrofits and Compensation
As part of this settlement, Humphrey-Stavrou and related entities have committed to making substantial retrofits to eliminate accessibility barriers.
These retrofits are planned for three properties still owned by Humphrey-Stavrou and three properties that were previously sold to third parties.
The intent is to create a more accessible environment for individuals with disabilities, with a focus on ensuring equitable access to residential units in Maryland.
Promoting Equal Access
The agreement, which is still pending court approval, outlines the payment of $60,000 into a settlement fund to compensate individuals who have experienced harm due to inaccessible conditions.
Additionally, $5,000 will be contributed to the government in the form of civil penalties to serve the public interest.
The settlement also encompasses a commitment to training the defendants about the FHA and the ADA, ensuring that their future multi-family housing construction complies with these laws, and providing regular reports to the Justice Department.
The six multi-family housing complexes at the center of this settlement include:
- Pin Oak Village, Bowie, Maryland
- Woodland Creek Apartments (formerly Henson Creek Manor I and II Apartments), Fort Washington, Maryland
- Woodside Village Apartments, Fort Washington, Maryland
- Acclaim at Lake Largo (formerly Largo Center Apartments), Largo, Maryland
- Randolph Village Senior Apartments, Silver Spring, Maryland
- Vistas at Lake Largo, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Prior Settlement with Stavrou Associates Inc.
It’s worth noting that the Justice Department previously reached a partial settlement with Stavrou Associates Inc. and related entities concerning 11 other multi-family housing complexes in Maryland. The consent order for that settlement was entered in November 2022, requiring payments of $185,000 and retrofits to address accessibility barriers.
Protecting Fair Housing Rights
The Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act aim to protect individuals from housing discrimination and ensure that housing facilities are accessible to those with disabilities.
These laws are critical in promoting equal access to housing and public accommodation.
If individuals believe they have faced difficulties due to inaccessible conditions, they can report discrimination to the Justice Department and other relevant authorities.
How to Report Discrimination
Those who have experienced issues related to inaccessible conditions can contact the Justice Department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 1-833-591-0291, selecting the appropriate options for assistance.
It’s essential to report any form of housing discrimination to uphold fair housing rights and accessibility standards