The United States is suing Meadow Creek Apartments in Bryan, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Meadow Creek, located at 1700 E. High St., is one of 82 properties named in the lawsuit, which was filed July 28. More than half of the other properties are in Ohio, with sites in Napoleon, Perrysburg, Whitehouse and Van Wert also making the list.
A message left with the Meadow Creek office was not returned by press time.
The 56-page suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, alleges the properties have “engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against persons with disabilities and denied rights to a group of persons because of disability” because they failed to design and construct multifamily dwellings in a manner required by the ADA and FHA.
According to the suit, the defendants deny the allegations that their properties are not in compliance and that they “intentionally or otherwise” failed to comply with the law. They will, however, address the alleged deficiencies.
Meadow Creek consists of eight three-level, 12-unit buildings, with 96 total units. Of those, 32 are FHA-covered ground-level units.
According to the suit, “covered multifamily dwellings” must include certain features to be accessible for people with or who develop a disability. These features include:
• Public and common use portions of the dwellings must be accessible to those with a disability.
• All doors into and within the premises must be wide enough to allow passage of wheelchairs.
• Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls must be in accessible locations.
• Reinforcements must be in place in bathroom walls to allow the installation of grab bars.
• Kitchens and bathrooms must be built so that wheelchair-bound persons can maneuver through them.
The suit also states violations involve the rental or sales office, which the ADA states need to be accessible to and usable by person with disabilities.
According to the consent order, the defendants must contract a surveyor within 60 days of the order to identify elements needing remediation with the surveys being completed within six months.
The defendants have 90 days from receiving the report to provide a list of objections and will need to complete retrofits to the accessible routes and public and common use areas within 24 months.
The properties will have 36 months to complete retrofits to the covered multifamily dwelling unit interiors.
Inconvenience to the renters is to be kept to a minimum and rents cannot be raised solely because of the retrofits.
A settlement fund of $400,000 also needs to be established within 60 days of the order to compensate any aggrieved persons who may have suffered harm from the alleged discriminatory housing practices.