BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a $15,000 settlement Friday with a Newton property owner to settle allegations of housing discrimination.
Kevin Regan, the property manager at the Lord Baron Apartments in Burlington, allegedly refused to rent to a disabled tenant because she asked for permission to live with an assistance dog.
Regan agreed to rent to the tenant after learning from Coakley's office that the refusal to rent violated fair housing laws. Following the agreement, Regan allegedly threatened the victim with eviction if he heard complaints about the assistance dog.
Also named as defendants in the assurance of discontinuance were L.B. Nominee Trust, doing business as the Lord Baron Apartments, and trustees Marvin P. Kosow and Kosow Construction Corporation.
"People with disabilities must be afforded the same access to quality, affordable housing as any other resident of the state," Coakley said. "Failing to make reasonable adjustments to policies and practices in order to accommodate tenants with disabilities violates the law."
Under the terms of the agreement, the defendants must pay $15,000 in restitution and penalties to the tenant and the state. The Lord Baron Apartments and the Lord Chesterfield Apartments in Framingham, an affiliated company, must make extensive policy changes to avoid future violations, notify Coakley's office of future requests by disabled tenants for particular accommodations and annually provide employees with fair housing training.
Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to discriminate against an applicant for housing because he or she is disabled, to refuse to permit or to make reasonable modifications to an existing premises, or to refuse to make reasonable changes in services, practices, policies or rules to allow an occupant with a disability to fully enjoy the premises.