A developer, builder and manager of affordable senior housing and other apartment complexes did not comply with the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act in designing and constructing 82 properties across 12 states, according to a lawsuit announced Thursday by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
The complaint against Miller-Valentine Operations and affiliated companies alleges that the properties have “significant accessibility barriers” involving steps leading to building entrances; pedestrian routes from apartments to site amenities such as picnic areas, dumpsters and clubhouse / leasing offices; parking; bathrooms and kitchens; door hardware; and units and common area entrances.
“For over two decades, federal laws have required multifamily housing complexes to be built with accessible features,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in a statement.
Reached Friday, Miller-Valentine Operations CEO Elizabeth Mangan told McKnight’s Senior Living that the company was still reviewing the lawsuit and so did not have specific comments on it.
“I can say that Miller-Valentine Operations is a great company that prides itself on providing housing in communities serving a full range of residents. We hire professionals to ensure that all of our properties are designed and constructed to be accessible, adaptable and usable by persons with disabilities,” she said in a statement. “We have been building multifamily communities for more than two decades and have always hired reputable design and engineering firms to ensure compliance with federal, state and local accessibility codes. Miller-Valentine Operations does not engage in or support discrimination in any form, and we are not aware of complaints from residents regarding accessibility of our apartment homes.”
According to the legal action, the company built many of the complexes using federal low-income housing tax credits or financing from other federal government programs.
The lawsuit seeks an order requiring the defendants to bring the properties into compliance and pay monetary damages to those harmed by the lack of accessibility, as well as civil penalties to the United States to vindicate the public interest. The complaint also seeks to ensure that the company’s future properties comply with the FHA and ADA.
The lawsuit lists properties in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia. Among the 82 properties listed by the Justice Department:
- Twin Lakes Senior Villas, Rantoul, IL
- Meadow Vista Senior Villas, Altoona, IA
- Madison Place Senior, Gastonia, NC
- Carriage Trails Senior Villas, Huber Heights, OH
- Harmony Senior Village, Williamsburg, OH
- Lake Towne Senior, Walbridge, OH
- Pheasant Run Senior, Dayton, OH
- Siena Village Senior Living, Dayton, OH
- St. Rita’s Senior Housing, Garfield Heights, OH
- Walnut Run Senior Villas, Cortland, OH
- Whitehouse Square Senior Villas, Whitehouse, OH
The full list of properties appears in a Justice Department news release.