Photo: Boston CBS Local
The trouble began when Sgt. Joel Morgan was turned away from an apartment by an anti-war landlord who allegedly argued his service and her beliefs presented a “conflict of interest.” Now Morgan, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the landlord, Janice Roberts, CBS Boston reports.
In it he alleges Roberts left him a voicemail saying, “because of what you told me about the Iraq war … we are very adamant about our beliefs … it’s just not comfortable for us … and I’m sure now that you know this, it would not be comfortable for you.”
“It really freaked out—is this what I’m going to be facing?” he told CBS. “Should I not let people know that I’m a combat vet?”
Landlords can have any number of reasons not to rent you an apartment, but under Massachusetts law, Morgan’s status as a war vet shouldn’t have been one of them.
If you’re concerned about a landlord discriminating against you based on gender, race or ethnicity, look out for the warning signs. Per YM contributor BrickUnderground, here’s how to tell when a landlord is sizing you up in unseemly ways:
1. He asks if you plan to have kids or more of them.
2. He asks where you’re originally from.
3. He asks if you’ll need any “extra assistance.” This is a coy way of finding out just how big of a burden a tenant might be for the landlord.
4. What kind of cuisine do you like to cook? If the landlord’s asking whether or not you cook with curry, steer clear. “If the candidate is of obvious foreign descent this could be seen as evidence of discrimination based on national origin.”