For Immediate Release - December 10, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Obtains Consent Judgment Against Property Owner for Discriminating Against a Parent with a Housing Subsidy

WOBURN - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office obtained a consent judgment against a Woburn landlord resolving allegations that he refused to rent to a woman and her children because she had a Section 8 housing subsidy to pay a portion of the rent. The consent judgment entered by Judge Leila R. Kern in Middlesex Superior Court, orders Abdullah al-Mamun to pay the woman $4,000 and to pay $1,000 to the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston. In addition, the consent judgment bars defendants from discriminating in the future and requires Mamun to attend a training seminar on state and federal fair housing laws.

"It is a violation of state and federal law to discriminate against persons with federal or state housing subsidies," said Attorney General Coakley. "Refusing to accept a prospective tenant because a landlord does not want to comply with certain requirements of a housing subsidy program violates our antidiscrimination laws."

According to the complaint filed November 20, 2009, Mamun, who is the co-owner of a two family property in Woburn, advertised the four bedroom rental unit on Craigslist.org. A single parent with children responded to the advertisement. Upon learning through conversation that the woman had a housing subsidy, Mamun allegedly refused to show her the apartment. In response, the prospective tenant told Mamun that it was illegal to refuse to rent to people with housing subsidies to which Mamun allegedly responded that it was his property and that he could do anything he wanted with it. According to the complaint, Mamun further stated that he "didn't want to deal with the government paperwork."

Testers from the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston conducted subsequent tests using both a "control" tester and a "protected class" tester, a woman pretending to have a housing subsidy. According to the complaint, Mamun showed the unit to both testers, but only sent a rental application to the control tester, offering at least a two year lease. He allegedly told the protected class tester that the apartment would only be available for one year and then he would be moving into it.

The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Alan Jay Rom of Attorney General Coakley's Civil Rights Division.

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