Fair Housing Centers in the Miami Valley and central Ohio are suing the developers and owners of five multi-family apartment complexes in metropolitan Columbus alleging violations of the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA). The FHAA is meant to protect people with disabilities from housing discrimination.
Jim McCarthy is the president and CEO of The Miami Valley Fair Housing Center (MVFHC) and the Central Ohio Fair Housing Association (COFHA). Both organizations are private, non-profit organizations working to end housing discrimination in the Dayton and Columbus areas respectively. McCarty says the housing units in question have been popping up rapidly, with more expected, and they’re not to code.
Of the violations found he says, “There were so many of them and many of them that posed significant barriers to people who have mobility impairments that we had to act.”
Named in the fair housing centers’ suit were Preferred Living Real Estate Investments, LLC and several affiliated companies. Preferred Living operates at least 12 multi-family housing units in Columbus with more on the way.
The fair housing centers released a statement saying:
The suit asks the Court to declare that Preferred Living and other defendants have violated the federal Fair Housing Act; seeks a permanent injunction enjoining the defendants from failing or refusing to:
· bring the covered dwelling units and public and common use areas into compliance with the FHAA;
· design or construct any covered multifamily dwellings in the future in compliance with the FHAA;
· and make appropriate retrofits to all covered properties in order to bring them into compliance;
The lawsuit also seeks compensatory and punitive damages for both Miami Valley Fair Housing Center and Central Ohio Fair Housing Association, plus all attorney fees, costs, and expenses.
Stephen M. Dane, Ryan C. Downer, and Tara Ramchandani of Relman, Dane & Colfax, PLLC, a Washington, DC-based civil rights law firm are representing the Plaintiffs.