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FAIR HOUSING LAWSUIT FILED ALLEGING DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION AGAINST 38 PROPERTIES NATIONWIDE

Updated: Oct 29, 2022



 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 29, 2022

For more information contact: Sally Santangelo, Executive Director


FAIR HOUSING LAWSUIT FILED ALLEGING DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION AGAINST 38 PROPERTIES NATIONWIDE


Syracuse, NY – Today, CNY Fair Housing, along with six fellow fair housing organizations in four different states (“Plaintiffs”), announces the filing of a federal lawsuit against Clover Group and its related entities (“Defendants”), alleging housing discrimination against individuals with disabilities in violation of both federal and state fair housing laws. Clover Group and its affiliated companies own and operate senior housing complexes across the northeast and midwest. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.


During their investigations, Plaintiffs uncovered widespread violations of the federal Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements at 38 of the Defendants’ properties across New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. The inaccessible features identified include, but are not limited to, inaccessible bathrooms, doorways, patios, and mailboxes, as well as inaccessible parking and inaccessible routes to and from units and public and common use areas. All properties are advertised for individuals 55 years and older.


Properties that CNY Fair Housing investigated include Camillus Pointe Senior Apartments (Camillus, NY); Morgan Square Senior Apartments (Clay, NY); Buckley Square Senior Apartments (Town of Salina, NY); Reynolds Point Senior Apartments (Johnson City, NY); New Hartford Square Senior Apartments (Whitesboro, NY); and Carlton Hollow Senior Apartments (Ballston Spa, NY).


Under the federal Fair Housing Amendment Act’s design and construction accessibility requirements, all multi-family housing with four or more units that was built for first occupancy on or after March 13, 1991 must be accessible to wheelchair users and individuals with other physical disabilities. These include seven technical requirements to ensure compliance such as accessible routes and sufficient maneuvering space in bathrooms and kitchens..


“With approximately 27% of New Yorkers over the age of 60 having some form of disability according to 2020 Census data, Clover Group markets its properties to a population that is more likely to need accessible housing,” explained Sally Santangelo, Executive Director of CNY Fair Housing. “While we need to make sure that all housing providers are meeting their accessible design responsibilities under the law, that is especially true for Clover Group and other companies that specifically provide senior housing. An already tight housing market shouldn’t be made even tighter for our seniors by denying them the opportunity to find decent, accessible housing where they can age in place.”


CNY Fair Housing conducted the joint investigation with Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Buffalo, Inc. (Buffalo, NY), Fair Housing Center for Rights & Research, Inc. (Cleveland, OH), Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH), Toledo Fair Housing Center (Toledo, OH), Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, (Indianapolis, IN), and the Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh, Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA).

Last year, CNY Fair Housing and the other fair housing groups sued Clover Group and related entities in a lawsuit alleging other forms of disability discrimination, including the denial of reasonable accommodations and a rental pricing scheme that exploits seniors with disabilities by charging higher fees for more accessible units. In February, Judge Brenda K. Sannes denied the Defendants’ motion to dismiss the fair housing groups’ claim that their rental pricing scheme discriminated against residents with disabilities.

The Plaintiffs are represented by Conor Kirchner and Casey Weissman-Vermeulen of CNY Fair Housing, Inc. and Reed Colfax, Sara Pratt, and Soohyun Choi of Relman Colfax PLLC. A copy of the filed complaint can be found on CNY Fair Housing’s News Page.


CNY Fair Housing is a nonprofit organization that works to eliminate housing discrimination, promote open communities, and ensure equal access to housing opportunity for all people in Central and Northern New York.


The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.


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