Military Member Sues After Pacifist Landlord Tells Him to Rent Elsewhere
A Boston landlord and self-proclaimed pacifist has found herself in hot water of the legal sort after she told a military member his service presented a “conflict of interest” and suggested he find an apartment someplace else.
Sgt. Joel Morgan, 29, asserts that after looking at the apartment Janice Roberts had up for rent, she left him a voicemail saying renting to him would be uncomfortable for all involved and that it would be better for him “to look for a place that is a little bit less politically active and controversial.”
Morgan, a National Guardsman who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, said it was like “a spit in the face,” adding, “For what we have gone through overseas, to come home to our country and have people … discriminate against us. … It made me extremely insecure about being a soldier.”
He filed suit last week, accusing Roberts of violating a Massachusetts state law that prohibits landlords from refusing to rent to veterans. For her part, Roberts says that since Morgan didn’t actually fill out a rental application, there was no formal rejection. He counters that after hearing her voicemail, he opted not to apply.
“It’s [not just] illegal, but also just unconscionable,” Morgan’s attorney, Joseph L. Sulman, said. “It’s something any American should be embarrassed about.”