PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Western Division Housing Court Judge issued a summary judgement, finding that a family that owns 10 rental properties in Massachusetts, engaged in unlawful discrimination in refusing to rent to an applicant solely because her Section 8 voucher was administered by the Berkshire Housing Development Corporation.
The applicant was a mother of three children who was attempting to use her new Section 8 voucher to move out of the homeless shelter where they were living after a foreclosure proceeding forced them out of their prior apartment.
The Massachusetts Fair Housing Center filed a motion for summary judgement in this civil rights action initiated on behalf of the applicant who sought to rent from the Niedzwieckis’ apartment. After Danuta Niedzwiecki told the woman that she would not rent to her because of her Section 8 voucher was administered by the BHDC, she immediately contacted MFHC.
MFHC used trained fair housing testers to confirm that the Niedzwieckis were engaging in a pattern and practice refusing to rent to Section 8 voucher holders administered by BHDC. The Niedzwieckis claimed that they previously had negative experiences with BHDC and were therefore unwilling to engage in business with it.
Judge Dina E. Fein noted that the Niedzwieckis refusal to work with BHDC was an unlawful practice regardless of whether they rented to tenants with Section 8 vouchers administered by other housing authorities.
The woman was forced to spend additional time in a homeless shelter with her three children and was eventually forced to accept an apartment that lacked the ideal location and other benefit’s of the Niedzwieckis’ apartment out of fear she was going to lose her voucher.