For Immediate Release - March 11, 2010

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Reaches Settlement with Allston Real Estate Company That Allegedly Discriminated Against a Family with Children

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office entered into a settlement with an Allston based real estate company resolving allegations that the company refused to rent to a family with a small child. The Assurance of Discontinuance filed in Suffolk Superior Court, against Micozzi Management, Inc., and its agent Lori Falzarano, orders the company to pay the family $3,000 and to adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy and conduct employee fair housing training. The Assurance of Discontinuance also bars Micozzi Management, Inc. from discriminating in the future.

"We are facing critical housing needs in the Commonwealth and the strain on families with children is particularly great," said Attorney General Coakley. "Realtors, brokers and landlords in Massachusetts should understand that discrimination against families with children is illegal, and we will seek to hold accountable those who break the law."

According to the complaint referred to the Attorney General's Office in April 2009, Micozzi and its agent initially refused to show a rental unit to a couple who disclosed that they have a child, but later agreed to show the unit when the same couple called back and did not mention having a child. Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to discriminate against renters because of their familial status or because they have children.

In addition to the $3,000 payment to the family, the settlement also requires Micozzi Management, Inc. to train its personnel about the fair housing laws and to advertise its properties as "Equal Housing Opportunity." If Micozzi Management, Inc. fails to comply with the Assurance of Discontinuance, it will have to pay an additional $2,000 to the Commonwealth relating to this settlement and face additional claims.

As an advocate for victims' rights, Attorney General Coakley's office works to ensure that the civil rights and liberties of visitors and residents of the Commonwealth are preserved and protected. Under federal and state fair housing laws, it is illegal to discriminate against an individual or a family seeking housing because of a person's race, color, religion, sex, familial status (e.g. children or marital status), national origin, or handicap/disability. These laws also prohibit discrimination in advertising, public housing, and actions taken by realtors, landlords, mortgage lenders and brokers. Since taking office in January 2007, Attorney General Coakley's office has obtained judgments in 84 housing discrimination cases brought against landlords, property managers, and/or real estate companies.

This matter was handled by Brian Boyle, an Attorney in Attorney General Coakley's Civil Rights Division.