DATE: November 5, 1996
CONTACT: Erin Kemple, Executive Director
Holyoke, MA -- The Housing Discrimination Project has settled two separate cases in which local landlords refused to sign leases required by the Section 8 rental from Hilltop Gardens Apartments and $20,000 from University Park Apartments, both located in Holyoke -- will be shared between HDP and a local tenant.
"Both complexes had an advertised policy of refusing to sign leases for tenants," said Joel Feldman, HDP Legal Director. "In the case of University Park, they refused to sign a lease for one of our clients, resulting in a prolonged and unnecessary stay in a local homeless shelter. We are pleased that both complexes agreed to change this policy and issue leases for tenants in the Section 8 program."
In addition to the cash settlement, the complexes agreed to substantial affirmative relief, including training their agents on the fair housing laws, accepting rental subsidies in the future, preventing future discrimination and removing the "no lease" statement from their advertising.
Section 8 is a federal housing subsidy program which ensures that low-income tenants pay only 30% of their income toward rent. The Section 8 program, as administered by local housing authorities, pays the remaining rent directly to the landlord. Signing a lease is a requirement of the Section 8 program. Under Massachusetts law it is illegal to refuse to rent to a tenant because they receive a rental subsidy or because of a requirement of a subsidy program.
The Housing Discrimination Project, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating housing discrimination in central and western Massachusetts. For more information about housing discrimination, or to make a complaint about possible housing discrimination, call 1-800-675-7309.