Landlord to pay $10,000 for violating Lead Paint Law

David Ertischek

In March 2007, Roslindale landlord Mauricio Robles advertised on the Internet discriminating against Section 8 recipients. Robles did this to avoid complying with the state’s Lead Paint Law. Now Robles is going to have to pay $10,000 in compensatory damages, said the Boston Housing Court.

“Massachusetts landlords need to understand that they may not discriminate in rental advertisements,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley. “I urge any Internet company whose Web site includes advertising for Massachusetts real estate to prominently display information about state and federal antidiscrimination laws, and to adopt and enforce policies to remove illegal material.”

The decision, which was handed down on April 1, also requires Robles to abate any lead paint hazards in the rental unit. Robles will also have to attending training on federal and state fair housing laws and the lead paint law.

Robles had a complaint filed against him in March 2007 saying that he would not rent a two-unit family to tenants with Section 8 vouchers. The complaint also alleged that Robles included the discriminatory comment because he believed that the unit contained lead paint hazards, and that he wanted to avoid complying with the state’s lead paint law.

Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to discriminate against housing applicants because they receive public assistance. It is also illegal to refuse to rent to a prospective tenant because they unit may contain lead paint, or because renting the unit would then require the landlord to delead the apartment under state law.