Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal for landlords to turn away or otherwise discriminate against tenants who are Section 8 recipients. However, both University Park and Hilltop Gardens got around the law by not signing leases with their tenants. Signing a lease is a requirement of the Section 8 program. Therefore, tenants with Section 8 vouchers could not move into either complex. Under the HDP settlement, both complexes will now agree to sign leases for Section 8 tenants. They must also remove the words "no lease" from their advertisements.
According to HDP Legal Director Joel Feldman, this practice of not signing leases put one of HDP's clients in a bad and totally unnecessary situation. "Both complexes had an advertised policy of refusing to sign leases for tenants," he said. "In the case of University Park, they refused to sign a lease for one of our clients, resulting in a prolonged and unnecessary stay in a local homeless shelter. We are pleased that both complexes agreed to change this policy and issue leases for tenants in the Section 8 program."