The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has charged the developers and architects of a Brooklyn condominium with allegedly discriminating against people with disabilities, amNewYork reports.
The charges name Toll Brothers, Greenberg Farrow Architecture, and others involved with the design and construction of the 40-unit North 8 Condominium in Williamsburg. The charges note that the development's entry has too steep of a slope, does not have enough space between the interior vestibule door and the sliding door to maneuver a wheelchair, and that its intercom, mailboxes, lobby desk and various doors in both common areas and individual dwellings are inaccessible.
HUD said multifamily buildings constructed after March 1991 must contain features that make them accessible and functional for people in wheelchairs, but these mandates were not met in North 8, which received its certificate of occupancy in 2011, according to the charges. The city’s Department of Buildings said it reviews plans for compliance with city codes, including its accessibility standards, when issuing certificates of occupancy, but it cannot enforce federal standards, such as the Fair Housing Act or the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
HUD, in the charges, requested that the developer face the maximum civil penalty for each discriminatory housing practice. Penalties in these sorts of cases range from $16,000 for the first violation to $105,000 for multiple violations.
As Habitat reported recently, lawyers continue to file numerous lawsuits against co-ops and condos that may fail to comply with accessibility requirements for their commercial spaces under the ADA. In such cases, as reported by the New York Times, the plaintiff typically collects $500 and the attorney collects $16,000 in legal fees.
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