I was visiting Puerto Rico, because my mother was sick and I went to spend some time there to help my family with her and visit. When I returned home, the landlord had changed the locks on my apartment, left an eviction notice on the door and my belongings are still inside. Is this an illegal eviction? Have my civil rights been violated, I feel my civil rights may have been violated, as the landlord purchased the home at foreclosure and has been removing all the Hispanic tenants and not evicting the white tenants, is this discrimination? Please help, I have no one else to turn too.


First and foremost this is an illegal eviction and secondly it is a civil rights violation, under the fair housing act. Your landlord cannot take it upon themselves in Massachusetts or Rhode Island to simply lock you out of your apartment, because they know you are not located in the country for a week or two. Landlord must go through all of an eviction process, and cannot take self-help means such as changing your locks in order to evict you. The simple fact that the behavior your landlord has demonstrated by evicting all Hispanic people living within your building and not doing the same for those of other races, in this situation you claim that they were white, that is certainly a civil rights violation and a violation of the fair housing act. Many attorneys simply would attack the situation with housing laws, as in the North East we have some of the most liberal housing laws in the country. At my law firm we would attack this in a two-pronged manner, first filing a fair housing act complaint with HUD (Housing and Urban Development) through the use of our experts at the nonprofit company of Lacefield and Coleman. We would also represent you in housing court, to get emergency orders for the landlord to allow you to move back in, as there was no lawful eviction that had taken place.

Far too often landlords think they can take advantage of the situation of buying a foreclosed piece of property and then just discard the people who reside there. Yes it is true if you buy a foreclosed piece of property in there was a previous lease, that lease is now broken and the landlord can take legal means to evict everyone from the property. The problem here is this particular landlord has chosen to sing allow a particular group of individuals, in this case Hispanics, treat them differently from their white counterparts, Which Is Culminated to a Civil Rights Violation under the Fair Housing Act. In this situation is important to have an attorney who is both experienced in landlord-tenant law and civil rights/discrimination law, as the two are not for within the same legal/court systems.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.

Attorneys At Law

901 Eastern Ave.
Unit 2
Fall River, MA 02723

Office:  888-269-0688

Email: jbotelho@botelholawgroup.com


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