A woman inquired about a rental property I had advertised on Craigslist. We talked for a few minutes and then she said that she was going to use Section Eight. I said that I do not take section eight, never have, never will. She asked why? I said that I do not believe in government programs. She filed a complaint with MCAD. They investigated. Split decision. No PC for Public Assistance Discrimination. PC found for Discriminatory Statements. Next Step - a hearing. Can Statements be discriminatory if the actions are not? What about my rights to free speech and personal opinions? What will happen at MCAD Hearing?
I have defended real estate agents in Massachusetts against several cases that sound similar to this one. To answer your questions: 1. Yes, a claim can be pursued based on discriminatory statements. 2. An MCAD hearing is similar to a trial in court. I recommend speaking with a lawyer about representing you before the MCAD. Good luck.
I am very surprised no PC was found for Public Assistance discrimination. You cannot deny someone housing based on public assistance, i.e. you cannot state you do not take Section 8. This is a State law, not Federal. I would have to look into it further, but in some cases, emotional distress is presumed in discrimination cases. 93A triple damages may also be on the table. Representation is probably in your interests here.
You should get someone to represent you. Your statements can be viewed as being discriminatory.
The above statements are provided as general information and not intended as legal advice. Each matter has its own set of unique circumstances that cannot be adequately addressed without consultation. You are strongly advised to hire an attorney licensed to practice law in your state to represent you.
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