Housing advocates sue developer over access by disabled

July 06, 1996|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc., a nonprofit housing advocacy group, filed suit yesterday in federal court against the developer of Saybrooke at Seven Oaks in Anne Arundel County for allegedly failing to comply with the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act.

In 1988, Congress amended the Fair Housing Act to require all multifamily housing of four or more units first occupied after March 1991 to meet accessibility requirements for people with disabilities.

Specifically, each ground-floor unit of buildings without elevators, all units in buildings with elevators and all public and common-use areas must be accessible.

The lawsuit filed in Baltimore alleges that the developer, whose name was not immediately available, violated these requirements because the complex has bathrooms and mailboxes that are completely inaccessible, and kitchens that are partly inaccessible. The suit seeks a court order requiring the developer to comply with the requirements of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and money damages.

This is the sixth lawsuit that BNI has filed against developers alleging noncompliance with the Fair Housing Act. For the past 1 1/2 years, BNI has focused on housing discrimination against people with disabilities under a Fair Housing Initiatives Program grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

BNI also has monitored construction of new multifamily housing throughout the Baltimore area to ensure compliance with the act.

Pub Date: 7/06/96

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