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DOJ Sues Toll Brothers For Accessibility Issues At East Coast Apartments

49 North Eighth St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of the buildings named in the suit against Toll Brothers.

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against residential developer Toll Brothers, alleging that apartment buildings it constructed aren't accessible to people with physical disabilities. 

The lawsuit from the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York cites examples of 14 apartment complexes in Massachusetts, New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, D.C. and Virginia. 

It found the properties had “excessively high thresholds” at entrances to buildings, common areas and individual apartments, common area bathrooms without grab bars, and insufficient bathroom floor space in apartments for people in wheelchairs — all of which it said violate the accessibility guidelines in the Fair Housing Act.

Toll Brothers didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Bisnow.

The DOJ is suing to make Toll Brothers retrofit noncompliant apartments and shared areas, compensate those who were discriminated against because of these inaccessible conditions, and create policies and practices that ensure the problem won't occur again. 

The DOJ also filed a proposed consent decree with Lendlease, which worked on the design and construction of one of the New York buildings cited in the complaint. As part of the agreement, Lendlease would pay a $10K fine and take steps to prevent future violations.

The Toll Brothers lawsuit is the 19th filed by the Southern District of New York against developers and architects over allegedly inaccessible housing in its district. It has also sued Related Cos., Silverstein Properties and The Durst Organization

“We appreciate Lendlease’s cooperation in taking responsibility for its actions so that more properties are more accessible to more people,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a release announcing the lawsuit. “This Office will remain vigilant in ensuring that developers and architects comply with the FHA and remedy inaccessible housing in this District.”