Discrimination Settlement Could Affect Thousands of Apartments
A settlement between a developer and the U.S. government has owners across the city fearing they'll be forced to make changes at tens of thousands of apartments to comply with federal law preventing discrimination against the disabled.
Real estate officials say upgrading kitchens, bathrooms, and buildings' common areas to comply with the Fair Housing Act could run tens of millions of dollars, if all apartments built since the law took effect in 1991 have to comply. Until recently, New York building owners felt that they were meeting the federal law by complying with a 1987 city ordinance that they believed was tougher.
The settlement with Avalon Bay Communities, which will affect seven New York buildings with a total of 2,557 apartments, includes reconfiguring kitchens and bathrooms for wheelchair access and changing floor levels in common areas. The developer also has agreed to put aside $2 million to cover any bias claims made by disabled people.