Tag Archives: Fair Housing Amendments Act

Woman claims College Point condo discriminated against her disability


| mchan@queenscourier.com


A paralyzed Queens woman is suing a national real estate development company, claiming a newly built College Point condominium discriminated against her disability, a lawsuit said.

The suit filed August 8 claims AVR Realty violated fair housing and human rights laws when it rejected Suzanne Vilchez’s request to make her newly purchased condo unit more handicapped accessible.

Vilchez is restricted to a wheelchair and has limited movement in her hands, fingers and arms, the lawsuit said.

She and her mother, Maria Coello, put a deposit down in August 2009 for a two-bedroom unit at Powell Cove Estates, a new 220-unit waterfront condo community, according to legal documents.

They said they were granted requests then by a sales representative for a levered door, an accessible patio, a lowered bathroom light switch and a roll-in shower, among other accommodations.

But the pair, who had sold their family home, was told a year later the doors could not be changed and the patio could not be modified to be made more accessible, the lawsuit said.

The federal Fair Housing Amendments Act mandates new multi-family residential buildings, with at least four units, be designed and built to have minimum accessibility features for the disabled.

It also requires building owners to make “reasonable exceptions” to policies and operations in accommodating people with disabilities and to allow tenants to pay for and make modifications.

AVR Realty declined to comment.

A discrimination complaint Vilchez filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is still “under active investigation,” the department said.

 

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