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Diliddo v. Oxford Street Realty, Inc

    Brief Fact Summary. A woman with a housing voucher was denied an apartment because of a clause in her lease. The lease form was required in order for her to use her voucher.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. It is unlawful discrimination to refuse housing to a subsidy program participant because of any requirement of the housing subsidy program. This is considered discrimination based on income 

    Facts.  Lori Diliddo was disabled in a car accident and became an Affordable Housing Voucher Participant.  This is the program that provides vouchers for temporary housing.
    That statute that enabled the program created an administrative board to monitor the program now called the Department of Housing and Community Development. This board established a standard lease which required all members of the program to use. That lease stated the term would be for one year and if the tenant found other affordable housing or found permanent housing he or she was required to give one months notice to the landlord to terminate the lease. Diliddo showed interest in an apartment located at 2 Belvedere Place in Cambridge. Oxford Street Realty initially agreed to rent her an apartment but took the offer back the follow day.  The President of Oxford, Jeffrey W. Indeck, stated they could not longer give her an apartment because a condition in her lease was unreasonable and excessive. 

    Issue. Whether the one-month termination provision of an AHVP lease is a requirement to accept a AHVP tenant and if so may a landlord reject that provision for purported financial reasons.

    Held. No. Not only is a landlord forbidden to refuse to rent to a person who receives a subsidy for housing, but it is also unlawful to refuse to rent to that person based on the requirements held in the standard lease of a subsidy program member.  It is also unlawful to accept the lease but not to comply with the termination clause of the lease. That clause is a requirement of the lease and must be enforced. Defendant claims that this requirement does not protect his property interest. This court finds the proper balance between the land-lords rights and the right to affordable housing is met; therefore, the landlord refusal to agree to termination provision is a violation of the lease as establish under the AHVP.

    Dissent.  

     

    Discussion. Allowing landlords to reject certain requirements of the AHVP lease for personal reason can potentially create a widespread and profound impact on the ability of residents to be able find affordable housing.


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