A lawsuit between the Department of Justice and a company known as the Gateway Group has finally come to an end.
Last October, several subsidiaries of the Gateway Group including Gateway Construction Corporation and Gateway Development Corporation were hit with a lawsuit based on the claim that these companies violated the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities.
How did they do that, you may wonder?
Well, the Gateway Group is known for developing and constructing apartment complexes in various states. According to this news report from The Anniston Star, federal prosecutors found a number of issues with the Gateway Groups apartments, namely that numerous properties spread throughout Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee had “…inaccessible parking; insufficient room in bathrooms and kitchens; significant barriers leading to building entrances; and non-existent or excessively sloped pedestrian routes from apartment units to amenities like picnic areas and offices.”
Adding fuel to the fire was Gateway’s current CEO who described the issues as “minuscule.”
However, for some these problems were not seen as minuscule.
Patrick Hackney, an attorney for the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, referenced the problems apartment renters were having saying, “It’s frustrating for the clients a lot of times to not be able to get into or access home or be able to find a place to live that they can actually get into or access.”
The settlement includes an agreement to make the various owners of the apartment complexes to take initiative and get the apartments up to code over a three year period. The changes will include “installing removable cabinets to provide greater clear floor space in bathrooms, adjusting the height of light switches and outlets, and adjusting sidewalks to remove small sloping deviations.“
Though it’s good to see Gateway making the effort to comply with the DOJ and help apartment renters who may have special needs, their begrudging attitude about the charges brought against them shows their true colors.