HUD charges Easthampton landlord with discrimination

Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2016 4:24:42 AM

EASTHAMPTON – Landlord Edward F. Fedor has been charged with housing discrimination for refusing to rent an apartment at 8 Searle Ave. to a couple with a child because it was on the third floor.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a statement Friday announcing that Fedor and his company, Mountain View Partners Limited Partnership, were the subject of an investigation that concluded that he had discriminated against the family last year.

In an interview Friday, Fedor, 86, of 518 East St., denied that charge and said in fact the current tenants of the third-floor apartment have an infant who is about six months old. 

The case now goes to either a U.S. administrative law judge or to federal district court, and the couple who filed the complaint may be awarded damages. Fedor also may face a $16,000 civil penalty, according to the statement issued by HUD.

The apartment was advertised on Craigslist in November 2015. A family called Fedor to inquire about the apartment. 

In a telephone interview Friday, Fedor recalled that after he asked what her credit score was, the woman’s attitude changed and she said she did not have a credit score that she knew of. “She got irritated,” Fedor said.

Fedor said he then asked how many people were going to live in the two-bedroom apartment. When she said she had a 3-year-old son, Fedor recalled telling her, “Are you aware it is on the third floor?”  

Fedor said he was concerned that the apartment’s porch could be unsafe for a young child.

“I did not tell her she could not have,” the apartment, Fedor said. “Nor did I tell her she could see it.”

According to HUD, the couple reached out to the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, a nonprofit in Holyoke, which conducted two telephone inquiries about the apartment in December. The couple then filed a complaint with HUD. 

One test caller said he lived with his wife and 3-year-old son, according to the HUD statement. Fedor said that would not work because it is a third-floor apartment and “as a father of children” he would “strongly not consider putting a child on the third floor.” According to the HUD statement, Fedor then said “thanks for calling” and hung up.

A second test caller said he wanted to rent the apartment with his wife and, according to the HUD statement. Fedor suggested the caller drive by the apartment and call to set up a time for viewing if he liked the area.

HUD then determined that Fedor in violation of the Fair Housing Act which prohibits landlords from denying housing to families with children.

However, Fedor said Friday there is a family with an infant living in the third-floor apartment. 

“I’ve been a landlord for 60 years,” Fedor said. “I’ve never had someone do this to me.”

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at cashworth@gazettenet.com.




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