|HUD No. 22-123
HUD Public Affairs
July 1, 2022
HUD Judge Enters Order Settling Discrimination Claim Against Massachusetts Housing Provider
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that Blossom Associates, LLC and Maryanne Hart, the owner and operator of multiple rental units in Massachusetts, will pay $11,000 under a Consent Order resolving allegations that they refused to rent to a family because the family had children under the age of six. Read the Order.
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against families with children under the age of eighteen. This includes refusing to rent to families with minor children.
"When looking for safe and affordable housing, families shouldn't be penalized because they have children," said Demetria L. McCain, HUD's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "This agreement reaffirms HUD's commitment to ensuring that housing providers follow fair housing laws and not discriminate against families who have children."
The Order resolves allegations made by HUD in a charge of discrimination. The charge alleged that the family inquired on two occasions about renting a unit. Each time, Hart allegedly asked the parents if they had children and how old they were. Upon hearing the children were under 6, Hart allegedly replied that she would not rent the unit to a family with children under six years of age because the unit had lead paint. Massachusetts has lead paint laws that require housing providers to remediate lead paint in units where children under six live. The laws also create liability for housing providers if they do not remediate and young children suffer lead poisoning.
"Housing providers may not use lead laws as an excuse for refusing to rent to families with young children," said HUD General Counsel Damon Smith. "HUD is committed to vigorously enforcing the Act to ensure that families with children can secure housing."
Under the terms of the Consent Order, Blossom Associates, LLC and Hart will pay $11,000 to the family, complete fair housing training, include an inclusive statement in all future rental advertisements, and refrain from making disparaging written or oral statements about the family.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
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