GREENFIELD, Mass. (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a $23,000 settlement on Tuesday with two Western Massachusetts property owners to resolve allegations they violated housing discrimination and credit reporting laws.
Adam Zaykoski and Jessalyn Zaykoski allegedly refused to rent to a prospective tenant because of his mental disability and because he received a rental assistance subsidy from the Mental Health Association. The Zaykoskis also allegedly violated consumer protection laws by failing to provide multiple applicants with an adverse action notice that would have alerted them to the fact that their applications were denied because of poor credit histories.
"Equal and fair access to housing is a right of all residents of the commonwealth," Coakley said. "Massachusetts residents must be provided with proper notice about the use of their credit histories in housing decisions so that they can make sure that landlords base their decisions on reports that are accurate."
Under the terms of a consent judgment, the Zaykoskis must pay $16,000 to the prospective tenant and provide him with notice when a one-bedroom or studio apartment becomes available in their building. The Zaykoskis will also pay $5,000 to the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center and $2,000 to the state.
The Zaykoskis also agreed to create and implement a credit screening policy and for at least one of them to attend training on federal and state fair housing laws.
In Massachusetts, it is illegal to discriminate against housing applicants because they receive public assistance or because of a disability.