Complying with federal discrimination law may be costly for landlords citywide

October 22, 2010 09:30AM

A settlement between a developer and the U.S. government has landlords across the city worried that they’ll be forced to make changes at tens of thousands of apartments to comply with a federal law preventing discrimination against the disabled, the Wall Street Journal reported. Until recently, New York landlords felt that they were meeting the federal law by complying with a 1987 city ordinance, but upgrading kitchens, bathrooms and common areas to comply with a law that took effect in 1991 could cost tens of millions of dollars. In 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan sued owner AvalonBay Communities and sent notices to 10 others warning that their buildings were not sufficiently accessible to wheelchairs. Now that the government has settled with AvalonBay, the other developers who got notices — including the Related company, the Durst Organization and Silverstein Properties — are in negotiations with the government. “This settlement ensures that thousands of apartments will be made accessible to people with disabilities and that victims of unlawful discrimination will be justly compensated,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. [WSJ]