July 30, 2020
Fair Housing Case Study Focuses on Bethlehem Senior Housing Complex
United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced on June 26, 2020, that the United States has reached a settlement agreement to resolve allegations of disability discrimination filed in a civil lawsuit against Heritage Senior Living LLC, its owner, and former owner. The complaint alleges that Traditions of Hanover, an apartment complex for seniors located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, discriminated against residents and prospective residents based on disability in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status.
According to the complaint, since at least 2013, Traditions of Hanover required residents to be able to “live independently” as a condition of their lease. In doing so, the apartment complex allegedly decided who could live independently, rather than allowing residents and their families to decide for themselves. Traditions of Hanover allegedly reserved its right to assess residents’ physical health, and to terminate leases based on health condition. The apartment complex also allegedly screened prospective residents to determine if they were appropriate to live in the building based on their health condition.