Mass. Housing Providers Settle Claims of Discrimination Against Voucher Holders

Several housing providers, realtors, and rental agents recently agreed pay a total of $40,000 to settle three unrelated claims of alleged income-based discrimination, according to an announcement by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

The settlements resolve three separate complaints alleging that the defendants, mainly property owners and realtors, violated the state’s antidiscrimination laws by denying prospects the opportunity to rent apartments because they were receiving public assistance through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.

Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to discriminate against any individual who receives federal, state, or local housing subsidies, including rental assistance or rental supplements, because the individual is receiving such benefits. State law also prohibits housing providers from discriminating against current or prospective resident based on the requirements of any public assistance program.

“Our public assistance programs help low-income families access safe and affordable housing in Massachusetts,” Healey said in a statement. “We will take action against landlords and property owners who discriminate against prospective tenants based on participation in the voucher program.”

For more information, see the Coach’s October lesson, “How to Comply with Laws Banning Discrimination Based on Source of Income,” available to subscribers here.