Midpeninsula Citizens for Fair Housing…

Midpeninsula Citizens for Fair Housing vs. Lytton Gardens, Inc., Community Housing Inc., and Carrasco & Associates

DREDF and co-counsel Legal Strategies Group represented Midpeninsula Citizens for Fair Housing (MCFH) in a fair housing lawsuit against Lytton Courtyard Apartments for violating architectural design and construction requirements that apply to new construction.

Federal law requires that 5% of the units in federally funded housing facili­ties must be fully accessible to people with mobility impairments, including those who use wheelchairs. A further 2% of federally funded units must have features that ensure access for persons with hearing and vision impairments. In addition, the federal Fair Housing Act specifies that all units in multi-family housing constructed for occupancy after 1991, must have certain adaptive design features that enhance access for tenants with disabilities, regardless of whether federal funding is involved. Comparable California laws also have new construction requirements, some of which exceed federal requirements. Even though it was built in part with federal money, Lytton Courtyard failed to meet the 5% – 2% accessible unit requirements. The Lytton Courtyard apartments, which opened for occupancy in June 1995, also lacked the adaptive design features required in new buildings.

Following the filing of MCFH’s law-suit, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a companion lawsuit on behalf of the United States, seeking to highlight the importance of compliance with new construction requirements through its involvement in the Lytton Courtyard case.

In 2002, a settlement was reached that required Lytton to undertake a retrofit, and the building’s owner and architect also agreed to implement policies to ensure disability nondiscrimination in the future, and to pay damages.

Legal Strategies Group