The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a settlement today in a disability discrimination complaint brought by a couple against the architect, builder and developer of a condo project in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

Salvador O’Neill, who has Parkinson’s disease, and his wife, Carmen, had filed the lawsuit against Verde Isla Court Inc., QB Construction and Gutierrez-Latimer C.S.P, the developer, builder, and architect of the Astralis Residences and Club, charging that the condo development is not accessible to persons with disabilities, according to a HUD announcement.

“HUD’s investigation revealed that the developer, builder, and architect of Astralis failed to design and construct the dwelling units and common areas in accordance with the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements for multifamily dwellings covered by the act,” the agency reported.

The law requires that public and common-use areas be accessible to persons with disabilities and that all doors allow passage by persons in wheelchairs and that kitchens and bathrooms are usable by wheelchair.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in Puerto Rico worked to identify violations, review design solutions, and negotiate an agreement. Through the settlement, the developer and the architect agree to make the couple’s condo unit “fully compliant with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act,” HUD announced, and the developer, architect, builder and Astralis Condominium Residents Association have agreed to reimburse the O’Neills $3,750 worth of expenses.

Verde Isla Court Inc. also has agreed to:

  • Make common-area modifications that include adding accessible routes throughout the property and fully accessible bathrooms inside the gym and the meeting room.

  • Issue a bank letter of commitment for a $1 million performance bond to the United States in the event the respondents fail to comply with the settlement agreement.

  • Notify all present owners of the Astralis Residences and Club of the availability, at no cost to them, to have their units fully or partially retrofitted to include the accessibility features required by the Fair Housing Act. Available modifications include widening doorways in master bedrooms and bathrooms and installing electrical outlets in accessible locations.

The agreement also states that the Astralis Condominium Residents Association will preserve and maintain eight accessible parking spaces and that Gutierrez Latimer C.S.P. will sponsor a fair-housing conference for the housing industry in Puerto Rico.

“The resolution we were able to reach in this case is a win not only for the O’Neills, but also the other residents of the Astralis Residences and Club,” said Kim Kendrick, HUD’s assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, in a statement.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
The best event in real estate kicks off next week! Tickets are selling quickly.Register Now×
Limited time: Get 30 days of Inman Select for $5.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription