Hamilton, Fairfield senior living properties part of $7.1M settlement to improve accessibility

Fifty properties involved in lawsuit will see changes.

BUTLER COUNTY — A federal lawsuit that alleged fair housing violations against people with disabilities at several properties in Ohio, including in Fairfield and Hamilton, has been settled.

The lawsuit against Clover Group, which owns dozens of properties in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements, according to the case filed in the Northern District of New York. Inaccessible items included parking spaces, mailboxes, bathrooms, and routes to units and everyday public use areas.

All of the properties named in the lawsuit, including Fairfield Village Senior Apartments on Patterson Boulevard in Fairfield and Eden Park Senior Apartments on Eden Park Drive in Hamilton, are advertised for individuals 55 years of age and older. Ten of the properties are in Ohio.

Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Greater Cincinnati (HOME Cincinnati) and 11 partner fair housing organizations in six different states announced the settlement Tuesday. The agreement requires an estimated $3 million in retrofits to public and common use areas at the properties.

“These include providing accessible routes around the exterior and common use areas, adding additional ramps and curb cuts, and replacing sidewalks that have excessive slopes,” states a release from HOME Cincinnati.

Clover Group will also set aside funds totaling $3.375 million for modifications to individual units “at the request of any resident or applicant at the 50 properties included in the agreement,” HOME Cincinnati announced. “These modifications to improve access for individuals who use wheelchairs or have other mobility limitations could include replacing sliding doors at patios or balconies to provide a wider opening and lower threshold, providing ramps at patio or balcony doors, adding grab bars, replacing bathroom vanities or sinks, installing roll-in showers or hand-held showers, lowering kitchen countertops, and lowering thermostats and light switches. Current tenants and new applicants will be notified of the availability of funds for unit modifications to meet their needs.”

Clover Group will also pay $750,000 to the fair housing organizations to compensate them for staff time and other resources expended to investigate the alleged accessibility violations and for attorneys’ fees, said HOME Cincinnati.

“Additionally, any Clover Group employees that are involved in the design and construction of multifamily housing will complete training on the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.”

The lawsuit was filed on March 22 and came after a joint investigation with the Fair Housing Center for Rights & Research in Cleveland.

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