On June 20, 2013, the North Texas Fair Housing Center (NTFHC) won another victory in its ongoing fight to ensure accessibility for all residents of Northern Texas. NTFHC had previously filed a complaint against UDR, Inc., a real estate investment trust that owns and operates about 160 multifamily apartment complexes across the country, with more than 47,000 units. The lawsuit, which was filed in September 2012, alleged that since at least 2007, UDR, Inc. and several of its affiliates engaged in a continuous pattern or practice of discrimination against people with disabilities by designing and/or constructing multifamily dwellings, and common- and public-use areas, without those required accessibility features.
Almost a year after the filing of the case, NTFHC’s tireless efforts paid off. UDR agreed to a settlement which will require them to make major renovations to three apartment complexes in the Dallas area and pay $87,000 as compensation. In addition, UDR has agreed to build all new apartments in the same manner. UDR will educate all current and future employees of their obligations under the law and will inform tenants of their rights. The company will include the International Symbol of Accessibility in all of its advertisements.
“There is no excuse for new housing developments in Dallas or anywhere else to exclude persons with disabilities,” said Frances Espinoza, Executive Director of North Texas Fair Housing Center. “We are looking forward to seeing a much more welcoming environment for people with disabilities in UDR’s apartment complexes.”
To read more about HUD’s guidelines and the design/construction requirements, please click here.