Defendants Will Pay $250,000-$325,000 into Settlement Fund to Compensate People with Disabilities Harmed by its Policies
The court entered a consent decree in United States v. Heritage Senior Living, LLC (E. D. Pa.). The complaint which was filed on May 13, 2020 alleged that the defendants engaged in unlawful discrimination by creating and implementing a series of discriminatory tenant occupancy and eligibility policies and practices that exclude persons with disabilities. The complaint alleged that the defendants, who are the owners and operators of Traditions of Hanover, a senior living facility, violated the Fair Housing Act by, inter alia, enacting a policy that required residents who use wheelchairs to transfer from their wheelchairs into a dining room chair, enacting a policy that required residents who used motorized and non-motorized wheelchairs to pay a non-refundable deposit, and requiring residents to sign a lease that imposes conditions such as requiring an initial physical assessment as a requirement of tenancy and potential eviction if a resident develops certain health conditions. In addition, the complaint alleged that the defendants provided transportation as an amenity and that until 2013, that transportation was inaccessible to people who used wheelchairs in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Under the consent order, defendants will pay a minimum of $250,000 and a maximum of $325,000 into a settlement fund to compensate residents and prospective residents who were harmed by these policies. Defendants will also pay a $55,000 civil penalty to the United States. In addition, defendants will attend fair housing training, appoint a Fair Housing Act compliance officer at Traditions and other senior living facilities, and will implement new resident policies, including a new reasonable accommodation policy and a new motorized wheelchair policy.