Articles Posted in Rental Property

The Attorney General released a statement late last month in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding disparate impact claims made under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The ruling was in alignment with the Attorney General’s argument that both businesses and individuals involved in real estate transactions, including the renting and selling of homes, must be held legally accountable for the discriminatory effects of their practices.

The Court specifically referred to the amicus curiae brief filed by the Attorney General’s office for the proposition that disparate impact claims are critical for states to be able to combat the specific sort of systematic discrimination that the FHA was designed to address.

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In yet another alleged case of discrimination in housing involving families with young children, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with a company that owns and operates an apartment complex in Massachusetts.

The case, which was filed in federal court, stems from alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act in connection with families. The case claims that the owner/operators of the apartment complex engaged in practices that segregated families with young children by relegating them to certain buildings, areas, and floors of the apartment complex at issue.

The data regarding the case was collected as part of a test program, in which individuals pose as would-be potential tenants and then gather information regarding any potential discriminatory actions.

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The Attorney General of Massachusetts recently announced that the state has reached a settlement with Coldwell Banker, on the matter of alleged instances of discrimination against families with children in housing rentals. Discrimination against prospective tenants on the basis of familial status is prohibited under Massachusetts law.

The allegations include an accusation that an agent of Coldwell Banker had posted several rental advertisements on the popular website Craigslist, discouraging families with children from inquiring about the rental. A subsequent investigation revealed that the same agent had engaged in a pattern of similar discrimination by informing the potential prospective tenants who had children that the landlords who owned the properties had an unwillingness to de-lead their properties, which would thus make them unavailable for those families to rent.

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