Mass. companies to pay over fair housing violations

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Wednesday that an Arlington property management company and a Boston real estate firm will pay a total of $11,200 and implement new policies to avoid future fair housing violations.

Under two separate assurances of discontinuance, the defendants -- Davidson Management Company LLC and A.F. Doyle Company Inc. -- must provide reasonable accommodations in a timely manner to tenants or clients in the state and their employees must attend training on fair housing laws.

"Individuals with disabilities must be afforded the same access to quality housing and services as any other resident of the Commonwealth," Coakley said. "We expect housing providers to take reasonable steps to accommodate individuals with disabilities, and are pleased that these settlements will help implement new policy changes."

Davidson will pay $2,500 to a tenant of its 31 unit apartment complex on Jason Street in Arlington as a result of failing to engage in a dialogue about the impact of smoking on the tenant's medical condition by other residents. The company will pay an additional $1,200 to the tenant to cover moving expenses should she choose to vacate her apartment.

Davidson will also ensure the enforcement of its no smoking policy at the apartment complex, will implement a comprehensive reasonable accommodation policy for all of its buildings and train its entire staff on fair housing laws.

Real estate company A.F. Doyle Company Inc., which allegedly engaged in discriminatory housing practices by failing to provide services to a person with a physical disability, will pay $2,500 in restitution to Suffolk university, implement new accommodation policies and obtain training for its employees.

A housing tester from the Suffolk University Law School Housing Discrimination Testing Program with a mobility impairment was allegedly denied assistance from an A.F. Doyle real estate agent that did not provide architectural access.

Both defendants will also pay Massachusetts $2,500, which will be suspended pending compliance with the settlements.

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