A Butte nonprofit is suing a Bozeman condominium developer in federal court, alleging the developer’s condos violate state and federal accessibility design and construction requirements.
Montana Fair Housing filed the suit last year in U.S. District Court against Overlook Condominiums, the Overlook Place Condominium Unit Owners Association and Yellowstone Heritage Construction.
The Overlook Condominiums, located on Haggerty Lane in Bozeman, don’t provide at least one accessible building entrance on an accessible route to the covered multifamily units, the complaint alleges. They also doesn’t make the public and common-use portions of the units accessible to the disabled and don’t provide doors designed for wheelchair access, the complaint said.
Inside, the units also don’t have light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other controls in accessible locations, the complaint said. They also lack reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow the installation of grab bars, and kitchens and bathrooms don’t have adequate space for a person in a wheelchair, the complaint said.
Those issues violate the Federal Fair Housing Act and the Montana Human Rights Act, the complaint said.
According to the complaint, Overlook Condominiums were built between 2007 and 2010 by Yellowstone Heritage Construction. Montana Fair Housing inspected the condos in August 2011.
Montana Fair Housing said, to date, the defendants have done nothing to correct the problems.
The nonprofit seeks unspecified damages and for the court to make Overlook correct the deficiencies and keep them from building future housing in the same manner.
The defendants have denied the nonprofit’s allegations. Montana Fair Housing has not been harmed, Livingston attorney Karl Knuchel argued in the defendants’ response, and therefore isn’t entitled to damages.
Further, Knuchel wrote that the claims are barred by statute of limitations. The claims arose in or about 2007, five years before this suit was filed.
Montana Fair Housing also does not deserve damages because the organization racked up damages voluntarily by filing this lawsuit, Knuchel maintained.