Discrimination on the basis of one of the following is illegal:
- National Origin
- Sexual Orientation
- Familial Status
- Marital Status
- Physical or Mental Disability or Handicap
- Source of Income
- Rent Subsidy
- Status as a Veteran or member of the Armed Forces
If you feel that you have been discriminated against in your search for rental housing there are organizations that can assist you.
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
294 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02110
Greater Boston Legal Services
197 Friend Street
Boston, MA 02114
The Boston Fair Housing Commission
Boston City Hall
Boston, MA 02201
Filing a Complaint
You may file a complaint with both the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
Your complaint with the MCAD must be filed within 6 months. You may call the MCAD Boston office at (617)727-3990 to schedule an appointment to file a complaint. When you attend your appointment you should bring any documents which are relevant to your case. Once you file a complaint with the MCAD, they will file a complaint with HUD if the discrimination also violates federal law. MCAD staff will then investigate your case and send you the person against whom you have filed the complaint written findings, If the MCAD finds probable cause that you have been discriminated against, you will have to choose whether to go forward with a hearing at the MCAD or to file a complaint in federal court. If you choose a hearing a the MCAD, you will receive an appointed attorney to present your case.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
You have one year from the date you were discriminated against to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If you need help filing your HUD complaint you should call the HUD Fair Housing Discrimination Hotline at 1-800-669-9777, TDD 1-800-669-9275.
HUD will investigate the complaint. If HUD determines that there is probable cause that you have been discriminated against, you will have to choose whether you wish to have a HUD hearing or to file a complaint in court.
This information was prepared to summarize some of your rights as they relate to fair housing. There is additional information surrounding your right to fair housing under state and federal laws. You should contact one of the listed agencies who specialize in housing discrimination matters to receive additional information as to how you should proceed if you feel you have been discriminated against.