FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2021
Contact: Izzy Woodruff | 202-898-1661 | IWoodruff@nationalfairhousing.org
NFHA Announces Settlement with GSL Properties, Inc., DBG Investors to Improve Accessibility
A NFHA investigation uncovered alleged fair housing violations in the company’s Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, residential properties
Washington, D.C. — A settlement agreement announced today between the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and GSL Properties, Inc./DBG Investors (GSL/DBG) will open up 19 residential properties to individuals with disabilities, ensuring that all amenities are fully accessible, in accordance with the Fair Housing Act’s design and construction requirements. GSL/DBG is an Oregon-based builder, owner, and operator of multi-family properties in multiple states, including New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Oregon.
“Our country is still struggling to cope with a severe COVID-19 pandemic that makes fair access to housing, especially for people with disabilities, even more important now,” said Lisa Rice, President and CEO of NFHA. “We must double down on enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, encouraging residential real estate companies to follow the law to help keep people safely and fairly housed. That’s exactly what this settlement helps accomplish.”
Over the course of an investigation from May 2017 to July 2019, NFHA identified what it claims to be violations of the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
As part of the pre-suit settlement agreement announced today, GSL/DBG will:
- Alter or retrofit six properties in New Mexico at issue in the case for accessibility;
- Inspect its remaining eight New Mexico properties and alter or retrofit them for accessibility;
- Establish a $300,000 fund to increase accessibility for residents including making reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications requested by residents (e.g., making bathrooms and kitchens accessible, removing inaccessible thresholds and passageways at sliding doors/balconies, and creating accessible/designated parking spaces);
- Notify current and future residents of the availability of the fund and the opportunity to request reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications under it;
- Engage in “commercially reasonable” efforts to alter or retrofit any public and common use area features in five additional New Mexico properties that were built designed by GSL/DBG and subsequently sold to new owners; and,
- Pay $325,000 in damages and fees to NFHA.
NFHA was represented in this case by Sara Pratt of Relman Colfax, PLLC, and the investigation was supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. Through its homeownership, credit access, tech equity, education, member services, public policy, community development, and enforcement initiatives, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.