The Related Companies. The Durst Organization. AvalonBay. Rose Associates. Rockrose. Silverstein Properties. They are some of the biggest developers and landlords in the city, and they all stand accused of discrimination by the Department of Justice, the Times' Charles Bagli reports. In January, the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan sent letters to all the folks above saying that some of their buildings violated the Fair Housing Act because they are "not accessible to persons with disabilities." The doors aren't wide enough, kitchens and bathrooms aren't big enough for wheelchair maneuverability, and "grab bars" in tubs can't be installed because the walls aren't reinforced. Last week, the lawmen pushed ahead with the case and filed a lawsuit against AvalonBay for failing to provide the disabled with access to Avalon Chrystie Place (right) on the Lower East Side. Ruh-roh! Needless to say, all eyes are on this case, because Avalon could be forced to renovate the apartments at enormous cost. And if that happens, some 100,000 rental apartments and thousands of condos built since 1991 could be forced to do the same. Yikes, Avalon Chrystie, yikes. Kind of makes that downstairs Whole Foods rat problem a little pale by comparison, no?
· U.S. Says Many Apartments Violate Law on Disabled [NYT]