Veteran denied housing
Sgt. Joel Morgan has served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan alleges that his service protecting America has kept him from renting an apartment, as he was turned down for housing by 63 year old anti-war activist, Janice Roberts, according to CBS Boston1.
The landlord left a voicemail for the 29 year old divorced father, explaining why he would not be suitable for the apartment, and that he should find somewhere else to live in Boston that is “less politically active.”
CBS Boston cites voicemails shared by Sgt. Morgan’s lawyer in which Roberts said, “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,” [the landlord] said in a voicemail to [the veteran]. I would suggest you do the right thing and look for a place less politically active or controversial.”
Divorced father training to be a Boston firefighter
Sgt. Morgan was rightfully stunned, saying that “I’ve been deployed so many times, I really haven’t had much of a home.” His apartment search led him to an ideal location as he trains to be a Boston firefighter. He says all he wanted to do was give her a check, and rent an apartment, but now he is confused.
“It really freaked me out that ‘Is this what I’m going to be facing? Should I not let people know that I’m a combat vet?’” Sgt. Morgan asks.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national orientation with the National Association of Realtors amending their own Code of Ethics this year to include sexual orientation as a protected class. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) offers a variety of protections, including certain protections from foreclosure while on duty.
Neither Fair Housing nor the SCRA protect renters from being denied housing, but under Massachusetts state laws, military service members and veterans are part of a protected class and cannot be discriminated against. Despite finding another apartment to rent, Sgt. Morgan’s rights were allegedly violated, and he plans to sue Roberts.
Earlier this week, another American war veteran was threatened with eviction for needing a companion dog to help treat his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an increasingly common method of PTSD treatment.