For Immediate Release - June 29, 2011

QUINCY REAL ESTATE COMPANY PAYS $7,500, IMPLEMENTS EMPLOYEE TRAINING PROGRAM TO RESOLVE ALLEGATIONS IT DISCRIMINATED AGAINST POTENTIAL TENANTS WITH CHILDREN

BOSTON - A Quincy Real Estate Company has paid $7,500 and will implement an employee training program to settle allegations that it unfairly discriminated against prospective tenants with children, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

Central Real Estate NQ, LLC and its agent Elizabeth Forde, allegedly violated state anti-discrimination, consumer protection, and lead paint laws by refusing to show prospective tenants with young children, who were testers from the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston, available apartments because of their lead status. Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to refuse to rent or steer families away from rental properties because they have children under the age of six whose presence requires an owner to remove lead hazards from the rental unit.

"Massachusetts law prohibits real estate professionals from refusing to rent to prospective tenants because they have children," AG Coakley said. "It is illegal to steer families with young children from an apartment they are interested in because the apartment does or may contain lead paint."

According to the AG's lawsuit, filed in August 2010, the real estate company posted advertisements on Craigslist stating the rental apartments at issue contained lead paint. When contacted by testers from the Fair Housing Center, the agent attempted to steer prospective tenants with young children to other units.

The settlement requires Central Real Estate and its employees and agents to abide by federal and state fair housing and anti-discrimination laws; complete training on state and federal fair housing laws; adopt and implement anti-discrimination policies; remove any references to a unit having lead paint from future advertisements; and notify the Attorney General's Office of any housing discrimination complaints for the next three years. In addition, Central Real Estate and Ms. Forde will pay $5,000 to the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston and $2,500 to the Commonwealth.

As an advocate for victim and consumer rights, Attorney General Coakley's office works to ensure 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.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Patricio Rossi of Attorney General Coakley's Civil Rights Division.

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