For Immediate Release - May 07, 2014

Boston-Area Landlord to Provide Tenants $23,000 in Relief Over Claims of Discrimination and Violation of Lead Paint Laws

Settlement Includes Deleading of Apartment; Disclosure of Inspection Reports

BOSTON – A Boston-area landlord has agreed to provide $23,000 in relief to two tenants, delead an apartment unit in Roslindale, and provide inspection reports to resolve allegations of discrimination against families with children and violations of state lead paint laws, Attorney General Coakley announced today.

According to the assurance of discontinuance, filed Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court, Dimitrios Deligiannides, Hariclia Deligiannides, and Hariton Deligiannides, allegedly refused to renew the leases of two tenants after learning that they were pregnant, in order to avoid their obligations under lead paint laws. 

“There are important protections in place to ensure that families have access to safe living environments,” AG Coakley said. “Landlords cannot avoid their obligations to abate lead paint hazards by evicting tenants with children.”

According to the settlement, Dimitrios Deligiannides told one of his tenants that he believed there was lead paint in the unit only after she informed him that she was pregnant. He then allegedly urged her to move out of the apartment located on Haslet Street in Roslindale. The settlement also alleges that the Deligiannideses failed to abate lead hazards promptly once both tenants gave birth and continued to reside in the units with their infants, and failed to disclose known lead hazards to all tenants in the three-unit apartment building.

Under the terms of the assurance of discontinuance, the Deligiannideses are required to provide lead inspection reports to all current and future tenants, obtain full deleading compliance for an apartment in the Haslet Street building, and forgive ten months of rent, totaling $12,000, for one of the tenants. Additionally, the Deligiannideses have agreed to pay a total of $11,000 in additional relief to the two affected tenants.

An additional payment of $2,500 to the Commonwealth is suspended pending compliance with the settlement.

Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to discriminate against tenants because of their familial status, including refusing to renew a tenant’s lease due to an obligation to abate lead paint hazards as a result of a change in the tenant’s familial status. Landlords must also fully comply with the lead paint laws, including the removal or covering of lead paint hazards where any child under the age of six resides, and providing tenants with all required lead paint disclosures at the inception of their tenancies.

The matter was handled by Fariha Ali, an attorney in AG Coakley’s Civil Rights Division, and Jonathan Miller, Chief of the Civil Rights Division.

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