CIVIL RIGHTS/ANTI-DISCRIMINATION—HOW THE MASSACHUSETTS LEAD POISONING PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT CODIFIES SYSTEMIC HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN IN VIOLATION OF THE FEDERAL FAIR HOUSING ACT
This Article asserts that the Massachusetts Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Act violates the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) by discriminating against families with children under age six. The Massachusetts Lead Law was hailed as a ground-breaking effort to prevent childhood lead poisoning when it was enacted in 1971. However, because it requires landlords to incur the costs of lead abatement only when a child under age six resides in a dwelling, it has created a profoundly discriminatory rental housing market for these families.
Part I of this Article discusses the scope of the problem for families with children under age six and provides an overview of the Massachusetts Lead Law. Part II advances the argument that the Massachusetts Lead Law violates the FHA. Part III explores the problems of housing instability and homelessness caused by housing discrimination against families with young children. The Conclusion recommends that the legislature amend the Massachusetts Lead Law to avoid discriminating against families with children under age six for three reasons: (1) to eliminate the harm of systemic discrimination; (2) to fully comply with the FHA; and (3) to achieve the original goal of the statute—to end childhood lead poisoning through a housing approach that requires property owners to abate lead hazards.
Meris L. Bergquist, CIVIL RIGHTS/ANTI-DISCRIMINATION—HOW THE MASSACHUSETTS LEAD POISONING PREVENTION AND CONTROL ACT CODIFIES SYSTEMIC HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN IN VIOLATION OF THE FEDERAL FAIR HOUSING ACT, 40 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 1 (2018), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol40/iss1/1