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Suit accuses landlord of disability discrimination

Posted by Your Town  December 18, 2009 02:20 PM

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A Natick-based property management company and its employee are being sued for allegedly telling a prospective, disabled tenant that accommodations she requested would not be made because the company does not accept tenants with disabilities.

The attorney general’s office filed a housing discrimination complaint yesterday against Franchi Management, Inc. and Marsha Lenhoff, the assistant property manager of Babcock Tower, a residential apartment building located on Babcock Street in Boston.

Requests for comment from the company were referred to the owners, who were not immediately available. Lenhoff was reached, but declined to comment.

According to the complaint, the prospective tenant, who has mobility impairments, viewed the apartment and asked whether alterations could be made to the bathroom to work with her commode and install push-button door openers.

Lenhoff told the disabled woman, whose identity the attorney general's office declined to release, that the modifications would not be made because the company does not accept tenants with disabilities, officials said.

The suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that the company and Lenhoff violated the state anti-discrimination law, which states it is illegal to make any statement indicating a preference, limitation or discrimination against persons with disabilities.

The attorney general’s office is seeking damages and costs and an order requiring the defendants to receive fair housing training, adopt appropriate antidiscrimination policies, and refrain from further discrimination.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at mrocheleau@globe.com

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