Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, which has a location at 713 Centre St., has entered into a settlement agreement with the state Attorney General’s (AG) Office over allegations that it discriminated against families with children in housing rentals, according to a press release.
The JP location was at the center of the allegations, which said that an agent discouraged families with children from applying at rentals because landlords would not remove lead paint from their properties. Coldwell has agreed to implement fair housing training and adopt new antidiscrimination policies. It will also pay a fine up to $17,500, including $5,000 to the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
“Families with children are protected under Massachusetts law and have the right to live in housing where lead hazards have been abated,” said AG Maura Healey, according to the press release. “Massachusetts realtors must understand that they cannot steer families with children away from available housing because of a landlord’s refusal to comply with the lead laws.”
According to the press release, Matthew Gore of JP’s Coldwell Banker posted several ads on Craigslist that discouraged families with children from applying. Suffolk University Housing Discrimination Testing Program found that Gore had engaged in a pattern of discrimination by indicating to families with children that landlords had expressed unwillingness to delead their properties.
Gore did not respond to a request for comment, but Coldwell released the following statement to the Gazette:
“We have taken, and continue to take, all of our obligations under Fair Housing laws very seriously. We offer numerous Fair Housing educational opportunities to all affiliated independent sales associates and, in accordance with the agreement with the Attorney General’s Office, have scheduled additional educational opportunities. We have fully cooperated with the Attorney General’s Office to resolve this matter and stand by our ongoing commitment to Fair Housing laws, which remains one of our highest priorities.”