Can I Sue My Landlord for Discrimination in Massachusetts?

Can I Sue My Landlord for Discrimination in Massachusetts?

Landlords and tenants may have many disagreements in Massachusetts, and most of these disputes can (and should) be settled out of court. That being said, there are certain situations in which legal action must be taken against a landlord. One of these situations involves a landlord discriminating against you. This serious offense must be brought to the attention of the proper authorities, and you must hold the landlord accountable for their actions.

If you are serious about pursuing legal action against your landlord for discrimination, you need to enlist the help of a qualified, experienced  attorney who is familiar with landlord/tenant laws in the Bay State. These professionals can fight for your rights, and you can make sure that the guilty landlord does not discriminate against any other innocent person in the future.

The Fair Housing Act

You are protected from landlord discrimination by something called the Fair Housing Act. This is a set of laws that is enforced at the federal, state, and local levels. Regardless of where you are in America, the Fair Housing Act applies to you and any landlord with whom you interact. According to the Fair Housing Act, your landlord may not:

  • Advertise that they are renting out property only to individuals of a certain race, religion, or any other protected category.
  • Falsely deny that a rental unit is unavailable
  • Enact unfair restrictions or standards on individuals that belong to certain groups
  • Set different rental terms, conditions, or privileges based on which group individuals belong to
  • Terminate your tenancy for reasons based on discrimination

Keep in mind that a wide range of individuals are protected under the Fair Housing Act. Your landlord may not discriminate against families, certain age groups, people with disabilities, and many others. A common misconception is that these protections only extend to certain ethnic or religious groups.

Taking Action

If you are ready to take action, your first step should be to file an official complaint through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This organization will then evaluate your claim and investigate the matter further. You may also want to “test” your landlord through a reputable organization. This involves sending two or more individuals to your landlord who are completely alike except for their backgrounds. If your landlord discriminates against one but not the other, you will have the evidence you need of discrimination.

Get Help From a Qualified Attorney in Massachusetts

If you believe that you are a victim of discrimination at the hands of your landlord, you should get advice from an experienced, qualified attorney as soon as possible. Legal counsel is a smart first step, as your attorney can let you know the best way to proceed in this matter. An attorney can also help you gather evidence of your landlord’s discriminatory practices, which is crucial if you are going to pursue legal action. Reach out to the Law Offices of Johnson, Sclafani & Moriarty today, and we will fight for your rights as a tenant.