Coakley settles real estate suit
BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Thursday that a Fairhaven real estate company and a real estate broker have settled a suit involving allegedly deceptive and threatening notices sent to tenants of foreclosed properties.
Coakley's suit claimed that RE/MAX Classic of Fairhaven and real estate broker Simone Schettino tried to unlawfully break the leases of tenants living in Roxbury and southeastern Massachusetts who were living in properties that were recently foreclosed and tried to remove them from their homes.
The tenants received threatening notices that claimed they had to vacate the properties if RE /MAX Classic wasn't contacted immediately, it is alleged.
The assurances of discontinuance filed includes a number of relief and preventive measures that will ensure their future compliance with state and federal consumer protection laws.
"We are facing critical housing needs in the Commonwealth and the strain of foreclosures has shown its affects on everyone," Coakley said. "State and federal law protects a tenant's right to live in the property for the remainder of the lease period even after a property has been foreclosed and sold to a new owner."
RE/MAX Classic must pay a penalty of $10,000, with $7,500 suspended, including $1,000 to South Coastal Counties Legal Services and $1,500 to the Local Consumer Aid Fund. Schettino has been fined $500, which will be paid to the Local Consumer Aid Fund.
Additionally, RE/MAX is required to provide six free public seminars to inform homeowners and tenants in buildings facing foreclosure about their rights.