SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Several Mississippi based developers have agreed to pay $350,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming they violated the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act when they built six apartment complexes in the southern part of the state.
The lawsuit claims the housing complexes are inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Four of the complexes are located in the WLOX News Now viewing area.
Complexes named in the lawsuit include The Beach Club Apartments in Long Beach, Inn by the Sea Condominiums in Pass Christian, The Belmont Apartments, and The Grand Biscayne Apartments, both located in Ocean Springs.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the companies will pay to retrofit the complexes to make them ADA compliant. They will also pay $250,000 to compensate 25 individuals and $100,000 in civil penalties.
"Barriers created by inaccessible housing and public accommodations deny the fundamental protection afforded by the Fair Housing Act," said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. "The retrofits required by this agreement will provide accessible housing to people with disabilities in several key commercial areas of the Southern District of Mississippi."
The retrofits will include eliminating steps, making bathrooms more accessible, constructing curb ramps and disabled parking spots, and making clubhouses, pools, and mailboxes more accessible.
"Housing impacts critical areas of one's daily life," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. "This comprehensive settlement demonstrates the Justice Department's commitment to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities to reside in and visit the housing of their choice."