NORTH CAROLINA — Mills Construction Company Inc. and related entities agreed to pay $275,000 to settle claims that they violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Department of Justice says, by failing to build 38 multifamily housing complexes in North Carolina with required accessible features for people with disabilities.
The settlement requires the defendants to put $225,000 into a fund to compensate those harmed by the inaccessible housing, pay a civil penalty of $50,000, and pay all costs related to the retrofits.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina must first approve the settlement.
“For over 30 years, the Fair Housing Act has required that new housing complexes be accessible to individuals with disabilities,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ's civil rights division said. “By requiring modifications to the properties, this settlement will reduce substantial barriers faced by people with disabilities in their own homes and will advance the Fair Housing Act’s promise of housing that is accessible for all.”
According to the DOJ, the defendants will replace steeply-sloped walkways so residents can reach mailboxes and property entrances, remove obstacles from pedestrian pathways, install lever handles on doors, and widen doorways to provide sufficient space for those who use wheelchairs.
Many of the complexes involved were built with financial assistance from the federal government's Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.
Below are the comlexes at issue, accordring the DOJ:
- Perry Lane Apartments, Arden, Columbus County;
- Dunbar Place Apartments, Asheville, Buncombe County;
- Smith Creek Apartments, Bermuda Run, Davie County;
- Emerald Forest Apartments, Biscoe, Montgomery County;
- Willow Oak Run Apartments, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County;
- Soco Creek Village Apartments, Cherokee, Swain/Jackson Counties;
- River Run Apartments, Chocowinity, Beaufort County;
- Sampson Square Apartments, Clinton, Sampson County;
- Long Creek Apartments, Dallas, Gaston County;
- Long Creek II, Dallas, Gaston County;
- Lovett Square Apartments, Durham, Durham County;
- Savannah Place Apartments, Durham, Durham County;
- Sherwood Park Apartments, Durham, Durham County;
- Filbert’s Creek Apartments, Edenton, Chowan County;
- Lakeside Apartments, Elizabeth City, Pasquotank County;
- Enfield Pointe Apartments, Enfield, Halifax County;
- Myrtle Place Apartments, Goldsboro, Wayne County;
- Woodlane Street Apartments, Granite Falls, Caldwell County;
- Kittrell Place Apartments, Greenville, Pitt County;
- Best Village I Apartments, Kinston, Lenoir County;
- Best Village II Apartments, Kinston, Lenoir County;
- Forest Hill Apartments, Lexington, Davidson County;
- Fairview Manor Apartments, Lillington, Harnett County;
- Fairview Pointe Apartments, Lillington, Harnett County;
- Northeast Pointe Apartments, Lumberton, Robeson County;
- Mocksville Pointe Apartments, Mocksville, Davie County;
- Sandy Ridge Apartments, Raeford, Hoke County;
- Chestnut Hills Apartments, Raleigh, Wake County;
- Hodges Creek Apartments, Raleigh, Wake County;
- Marsh Creek Apartments, Raleigh, Wake County;
- Milburnie Road Apartments, Raleigh, Wake County;
- West Oaks Apartments, Raleigh, Wake County;
- Chapel Ridge Apartments, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax County;
- Chapel Ridge Manor Apartments, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax County;
- Rollinwood Manor Apartments, Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County;
- Firetower Crossing Apartments, Sanford, Lee County;
- Sandhill Manor Apartments, Sanford, Lee County; and
- Tabor Landing Apartments, Tabor City, Columbus County.
"The Mills defendants cooperated fully with the department’s investigation," the DOJ said.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex and familial status. The law requires that multifamily housing buildings with four or more units constructed after March 13, 1991, have basic accessible features.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, enacted in 1990, requires rental offices at multifamily housing complexes constructed after Jan. 26, 1993 be accessible to people with disabilities.
Anyone who believes they had difficulties because of the inaccessible conditions at any of these properties can e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 1-833-591-0291. Residents can also report discrimination by contacting the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.
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