East Boston landlord settles over tenant discrimination allegations

Nick Rees Nov. 3, 2009, 4:33pm


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - An East Boston landlord has agreed to a settlement with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's office that resolves allegations of unfair discrimination against prospective tenants.

Russell Tremaine is alleged to have violated the state's anti-discrimination and lead paint laws when he denied a couple with a young child the right to rent an apartment in East Boston because of the present of lead paint.

Tremaine is alleged to have told the prospective tenants that he would not de-lead the apartment and, as a result, would not rent them the unit.

"It is against the law to deny a family the opportunity to rent an apartment because the family has a child under 6, which would require the landlord to abate or remove any lead paint from the unit and common areas," Coakley said.

"Those who choose to be landlords and participate in the rental market must play by the rules and abide by the laws meant to ensure people's health and safety. Particularly in the current economic climate where more families are forced to rent homes, they must not be wrongfully denied access to safe housing."

An Assurance of Discontinuance, filed against Tremaine in Suffolk Superior Court in October, requires Tremaine to abide by both federal and state fair housing and anti-discrimination laws, receive fair housing training, notify the Civil Rights division of any discrimination complaints over the next three years, de-lead the unit and common areas, and pay $2,500 to the Lead Action Collaborative.

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