State, Property Manager Reach Deal Over Deaf Applicants

BOSTON (AP) — A property management company has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle allegations that it denied prospective tenants who were deaf or hearing impaired access to housing at a Springfield apartment complex it runs, authorities said Tuesday.

As part of the agreement, Braintree-based Peabody Properties Inc. will also train its employees and implement new policies and procedures, Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

The settlement stems from an allegation that Peabody Properties violated state fair housing and consumer protection laws when staff at Pynchon/Edgewater, a 612-unit complex in Springfield, refused to consider requests from deaf applicants filling out rental applications to provide the assistance of an American Sign Language interpreter.

“People with disabilities often face serious barriers to accessing safe and affordable housing, and refusal to provide reasonable accommodations to those in need further exacerbates this problem,” Healey said in a statement. “This company wouldn’t even engage with deaf tenants who were seeking housing — let alone provide them with the assistance they needed to complete a rental application."

An email seeking comment was left with Peabody Properties.