The Massachusetts Fair Housing Center filed a discrimination claim against four rental
agencies in the area; the companies discouraged or refused rent to
families with children to avoid deleading their properties.
Four landlords and rental agents in Massachusetts will pay $13,000 in fines after settling a housing discrimination allegation with the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center (MFHC). The cases allege that the rental companies discouraged or refused homes containing lead paint to families with children.
Massachusetts state laws prohibits property managers from refusing to rent because of lead paint hazards, and if a family chooses to rent these contaminated properties, the property manager must comply with the deleading and abatement of all such lead hazards.
"That puts families in a position where they are discriminated against, or denied housing, or offered housing that is not safe," Ashley Grant, legal director for the Fair Housing Center, said in a recent press release.
According to Grant, testers from the MFCH posed as renters to investigate the companies. One of the companies, Valley Property Management of Amherst, told the testers that that the apartments could not be tested and deleaded in time for the family to move in, and also directed the testers away from certain potentially contaminated buildings.
Although all four companies have yet to make an official statement, they've agreed to pay fines. The proactive effort of MFCH is appreciated by her neighborhood, as most homes in the region tend to be older- thus built before the late 1970s ban on lead paint.
"What we want to do is create more lead safe properties," Grant said.
The money from the fines will be used to fund campaigns to inform families of their renter rights.
If you'd like to learn more about the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, visit their homepage. To get your lead certification, visit Zack Academy's lead webpage. Lead renovator classes for contractors, painters, and landlords are offered nationwide.