Attorney General Maura Healey earlier this month announced resolutions her office reached in four housing discrimination cases, including one in Wellesley. The AG’s office reported that prospective tenants were refused housing from real estate brokers and agencies based on their receipt of public assistance.
“Rental assistance programs play a critical role in ensuring economic stability for families and residents across Massachusetts – especially our underserved and disadvantaged communities,” said AG Healey, in a statement. “These resolutions send a message that the housing industry cannot refuse to rent to residents because of who they are or whether they receive public assistance, and my office will take action against those who do.”
The AG’s Office alleges that in January 2021, a family with an enhanced housing subsidy was looking for a new home. A housing counselor who was working with the family contacted Haynes Management about a property owned by Haynes Family LLC in Wellesley. Haynes Management staff informed the housing counselor that they did not take Section 8 vouchers. The housing counselor subsequently reported the refusal to the Attorney General’s Office, which investigated.
Under the terms of the settlement, the Haynes entities have agreed to develop and implement a fair housing policy, train staff on fair housing laws, add fair housing language to rental advertisements, and advertise rental units on commonly used internet sites in order to increase visibility of rental properties, including to prospective tenants with Section 8 vouchers. Haynes will also be prohibited from imposing a minimum income requirement on a tenant if the tenant receives a rental or housing subsidy. The Haynes entities also paid $25,000 in restitution and penalties.