The Office of Attorney General Martha Coakley has ordered a Newton landlord to stop violating state housing laws after he allegedly threatened tenants.
According to a press release issued by Coakley's office, Keith L. Miller, of Newton, allegedly threatened a tenant over their immigration status and others after they complained about property conditions.
Coakley's office , alleging that he skirted state lead paint laws by discriminating against tenants with children.
Miller—who manages 24 units in Newton, Arlington, Chelsea and Brighton—evicted some tenants with young children in addition to renting some apartments that contained lead paint to tenants with children, the release said.
State law requires landlords to abate lead paint hazards in apartments where children under the age of six live.
Since the initial lawsuit was filed last year, Coakley's office expanded their case against Miller. According to an amended complaint filed by Coakley's office last month, Miller allegedly:
- Evicted or threatened to evict tenants with young children
- Rented apartments containing lead paint to tenants with young children
- Failed to remove lead hazards in those apartments
- Failed to provide proper notice of lead hazards to his tenants
- Made misrepresentations regarding the presence of lead paint in his apartments
- Attempted to force a tenant to pay for the lead paint abatement required by the Department of Public Health
- Refused to repair unsafe and unsanitary conditions
- Used threats, intimidation, and coercion to interfere with the rights of his tenants
- He retaliated against tenants when they reported suspected violations of the law to city and state officials
Coakley's office also alleges that Miller made threatening comments to tenants regarding their immigration status after those tenants requested health code inspections.
With this injunction, Coakley's office has mandated Miller take the following steps to stay in compliance with the law:
- Notify the AG’s Office of any eviction action he initiates against a tenant
- Provide to the AG’s Office information about all prospective tenants who apply for available rental units
- Consent to lead paint inspections of units with children under six currently residing in them
- Refrain from using threats, intimidation, or coercion to interfere with or attempt to interfere with the rights of his tenants