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Coakley settles case over Craigslist ads

By Bryan Cohen | Sep 27, 2011


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a settlement on Tuesday with a Saugus real estate company that allegedly posted discriminatory rental advertisements on Craigslist.org.

The settlement with Eastern Property Management Inc. orders a broad range of preventive measures and relief to ensure that the company complies with state and federal fair housing laws in the future. The company allegedly discriminated against prospective tenants with children or those who received rental assistance in its advertisements.

As part of the settlement, Eastern Property Management will pay $10,000 to the Commonwealth, with $3,000 suspended pending compliance with the consent judgment.

"Massachusetts law prohibits real estate professionals from placing discriminatory housing advertisements," Coakley said. "It is illegal to post an advertisement that discriminates against individuals with children or who receive rental assistance. Those in the business of renting residential properties must comply with state anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws."

According to a complaint filed in June 2010, Eastern Property allegedly violated state anti-discrimination, consumer protection and lead paint laws by posting advertisements to the website Craigslist stating that the advertised rental unit was not available to applicants with children under the age of six or with Section 8 vouchers. Under state law, it is illegal to post advertisements that indicate a discriminatory bias against persons with children or who receive rental assistance.

The consent judgment also requires Eastern Property and its employees and agents to abide by federal and state fair housing and anti-discrimination laws. The must also notify the Civil Rights Division of any housing discrimination complaints for the next three years, adopt and implement anti-discrimination policies and complete training on state and federal fair housing laws.

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