Friedland Properties’ UWS building discriminates against handicapped: Feds

May 26, 2011 11:18AM

New York-based landlord Friedland Properties is in settlement negotiations with the federal government for allegedly failing to comply with housing discrimination laws that protect the disabled, the Wall Street Journal reported. The building in question is the 22-story, 143-unit Melar, a rental building at 250 West 93rd Street on the Upper West Side, which the U.S. Attorney’s office believes Friedland did not make accessible enough for wheelchair users. Friedland initially agreed to set aside $180,000 to cover discrimination claims, pay a $40,000 fine and spend $288,300 to remedy the situation. But in April, the landlord filed a motion seeking to withdraw from the settlement. The implications of the ruling could extend far beyond the Melar and affect some 176,000 apartments — including 64,000 affordable housing units — throughout the city, industry insiders told the Journal. Part of the problem, according to the Real Estate Board of New York, is that a city handicap accessibility law passed in 1987 might not satisfy federal requirements. In that case, developers who figured compliance with city law would suffice, could be at the mercy of federal regulators. But the U.S. Attorney’s office said that even if such contradictions exist between the city and federal laws, those aren’t relevant to this case. [WSJ]