The following story is from the Small Property Owners Association Newsletter Febraury 2009.

A Roslindale landlord wanted to rent one of his units in his triple-decker. He posted an ad on Craigslist in his own name, address and phone number. A woman called regarding the apartment and said she had a two year old, the landlord said: “I don’t think you want to live here. I’ve got lead paint.”

The woman was very persisted, however, and kept asking to see the apartment. “Why would you come and see it if you have a two-year old and I have lead paint.” the owner asked.

The woman kept calling and calling and insisting, and the landlord finally agreed to let her view the apartment.

The woman worked for Boston Fair Housing Commission (BFHC) and two weeks latter, the landlord received a letter from the BFHC imposing a fine. His punishment a $2,500.00 fine, taking a course on discrimination, and a requirement to list any and all vacant apartments with the Metro Boston Housing Partnership until 2011.

Here’s my question:
Do you think justice was served? Or do you think this is nothing more than goverment entrapment?

According to this newsletter what the landlord should have done, according to the law, was to rent her the apartment if she was qualified. Delead the apt and pay her rent in another apt while it was being deleaded.

I wonder how many landlord’s can actually afford to pursue the letter of the law in the above case? One point of interest, if the woman was a real renter, it would actually have been cheaper for this landlord to break the law than to obey it.

Another point of interest – the landlord was a diabled retiree.

Any thoughts?

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