For Immediate Release - October 03, 2011

Attorney General Martha Coakley and Massachusetts Association of Realtors Host Webinar on Housing Discrimination

BOSTON – Each year, the Attorney General’s Office responds to hundreds of housing discrimination complaints and brings enforcement actions against persons or companies that violate fair housing laws. For that reason, the Attorney General’s Office and the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) recently teamed up to host an educational webinar for Massachusetts realtors around housing discrimination law.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to partner with the Massachusetts Association of Realtors to provide real estate professionals with the most up to date information and training on fair housing laws and practices,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley.  “W e share a common interest in ensuring that the public has the opportunity to rent or purchase property free from discriminatory actions.  Collaborating with the real estate industry to provide training and education about these important laws can help better protect the Commonwealth’s consumers.”

“We are always looking for ways to keep our members up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations that are necessary to know, understand and follow if you want to be a successful REALTOR®,” said 2011 Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® President Laurie Cadigan, broker/owner of Barrett & Company in Concord. “The opportunity to have Civil Rights Division Chief Maura Healey and Assistant AG Jonathan Miller conduct a live webinar for our members on fair housing law is greatly appreciated and will continue to ensure that our members maintain the highest level of professionalism.”     

Understanding fair housing laws benefits real estate professionals who rent, sell or buy property so that they can make sure that tenant and prospective tenants’ rights to non-discriminatory treatment are protected, that rental advertisements are lawful, and that they can ensure that clients purchasing homes as rental income properties understand their legal obligations.

Attorneys from AG Coakley’s Civil Rights Division provided an overview of fair housing laws and responded to questions and answers posed by realtors. The topics covered included explanation of state anti-discrimination housing laws, obligations of realtors and landlords to abate lead paint hazards in rental units, appropriate rental advertising and rental practices to avoid discriminatory conduct, and resources for additional training.

The webinar took place at the MAR offices in Waltham and will remain available for members to access on the MAR website at www.marealtor.com.

To further assist real estate professionals with their efforts to comply with state and federal laws and protect consumers, the Attorney General’s Office also released a Fact Sheet to help assist real estate professionals with common questions about fair housing laws. 

The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for enforcing many fair housing, consumer protection and lead paint laws. These include the Massachusetts Anti-discrimination Law, which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental or advertising of housing by realtors, landlords, and mortgage lenders; as well as the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate against someone in the sale or rental of housing because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or handicap/disability.

The MA Association of Realtors is a trade association for licensed real estate practitioners – including commercial agents, brokers, and industry affiliates.  Their membership is approximately 22,000. 

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