City of Durham Human Relations Division Resolves Two “Design and Construction” Fair Housing Cases: Corrective Action Required By Property Owners
In June, the City of Durham Human Relations Division conciliated a housing discrimination complaint filed against the owner/developer of a newly constructed multifamily complex. The complaint alleged that the ground floor units were not accessible to individuals with disabilities. Pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement, the property owners must complete various corrective actions to ensure accessibility to those with disabilities (including wheelchairs). In addition to making these corrective actions to the property, the owners also agreed to remit $10,000 to the complainant.
This is the second such complaint conciliated by the Human Relations Division within the past year. In September, 2016, the Human Relations Division conciliated a similar complaint filed against a different property owner. Although the complainant in this case did not demand monetary relief, the extent of the needed repairs to make the property accessible to persons with disabilities costs the property owner more than $59,000. Such repairs included creating accessible routes into the property and making interior modifications to make it accessible to people with disabilities.
The federal Fair Housing Act and the City of Durham Fair Housing Ordinance contain various “design and construction” requirements that architects, builders, developers, and owners of multifamily dwellings must follow. These design and construction elements are required for all such dwellings constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991. Properties that fail to meet these standards are subject to a housing discrimination complaint which may result in tens of thousands of dollars in repair, retrofit and/or punitive penalties.
The above-referenced cases are examples of how the fair housing law can protect residents from unfair and inequitable housing choice.
For more information about your right to fair housing contact:
Human Relations Division at DurhamFairHousing.com or 919-560-1647