Coldwell Banker Resolves Claims of Housing Discrimination Against Families with Children
Real Estate Company to Pay Up to $17,500, Implement Fair Housing Training, and Adopt Comprehensive Antidiscrimination Policy
BOSTON – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has agreed to implement fair housing training and adopt new antidiscrimination policies to resolve allegations that it discriminated against families with children in housing rentals, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. Coldwell Banker will also pay up to $17,500, including $5,000 to the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
“Families with children are protected under Massachusetts law and have the right to live in housing where lead hazards have been abated,” AG Healey said. “Massachusetts realtors must understand that they cannot steer families with children away from available housing because of a landlord’s refusal to comply with the lead laws.”
According to the assurance of discontinuance, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, Matthew Gore, an agent of Coldwell Banker in Jamaica Plain, posted several rental advertisements on Craigslist.org that discouraged applications from families with children. Subsequent fair housing tests conducted by the Suffolk University Housing Discrimination Testing Program found that Gore had engaged in a pattern of discrimination by indicating to prospective tenants with children that landlords had expressed unwillingness to delead their properties.
Under the terms of the settlement, Gore and certain agents of Coldwell Banker will attend training on fair housing and lead laws. Coldwell Banker will also adopt a comprehensive antidiscrimination policy that will be posted and distributed to agents in all of its Massachusetts offices. To ensure compliance with the settlement, Coldwell Banker will submit to future fair housing tests conducted by the Suffolk University Housing Discrimination Testing Program.
Massachusetts law prohibits discrimination against prospective tenants on the basis of familial status. It is illegal for a realtor to place a rental advertisement indicating a preference for tenants without children. Landlords are required to comply with Massachusetts and federal lead laws, and a realtor may not steer families away from available housing because renting to them may trigger a landlord’s obligation to delead.
This matter was handled by Jonathan Miller, Chief of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division, and Amanda Mangaser, a Volunteer Assistant Attorney General in AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division.