Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Chapter 9: Decisions on Reasonable Accommodation Requests

9.1  Decisions on RAs: Timing and format

9.1.1  When will the BHA issue a decision?

Decisions on RA requests will be issued no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the date the BHA receives sufficient information from a Client to make a decision. The BHA will make all efforts to issue RA decisions as quickly as possible.

9.1.2  All decisions will be in writing

All RA approvals and denials will be in writing. If an RA request is approved or conditionally approved, the letter will describe:

  1. The Accommodation to be provided;

  2. Any terms, conditions, or performance expectations subject to the Client’s agreement; and

  3. The date for implementation, which shall be as soon as practicable and, except as explained in the approval notice, no later than thirty (30) days from the date of decision.  

If BHA denies or partially denies a request for an RA, the letter shall explain the reasoning for the decision.

9.1.3  All decisions will advise of appeal rights

All written decisions on requests, whether approvals or denials, will advise Clients of any right to appeal to DGA along with the deadline for exercising those rights and shall state that the Client also has the right to file a fair housing complaint with HUD, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the City of Boston’s Office of Fair Housing & Equity, or in court.

9.2  Denials of Reasonable Accommodation requests and the Reasonable Accommodation Review Committee

If an Occupancy, Leased Housing, Operations, or DGA staff member reviews an RA request and believes it should be denied in whole or in part, that decision must be reviewed by a designee of the head of that department (unless the staff member is the designee). If the designee decides to go forward with the denial, partial denial, or alternative Accommodation, he/she will draft a proposed letter to the Client informing him/her of the decision. Before sending, the proposed letter, along with all supporting documentation and information supporting the decision, will be submitted to the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) for review.

To undertake this review, OCR will maintain a four-member Reasonable Accommodation Review Committee (“RARC”) consisting of the Director of Civil Rights, Reasonable Accommodation Coordinator, a designee of the Director of Civil Rights, and a designee of the Administrator. To assist with review, the RARC will meet as necessary with representatives from all BHA departments responsible for the proposals. It will then decide whether to approve, remand, or reverse the proposed decision.

If the proposed decision is found deficient in any manner, the RARC will inform the designee of its rationale for not allowing it to be issued. Any decision that has been re-written at the request of the committee will be re-reviewed by the RARC prior to issuance.

Note that if DGA reviews another department’s RA denial that has already been reviewed by the RARC, the DGA decision will not receive further RARC review. Additionally, proposed denials that result from RA requests that arise within the context of a court case17  will not be reviewed by the RARC. They will be resolved within the context of the litigation and the decision on the RA may ultimately be left to the judge.


17For summary process cases this means the summons and complaint has been served, and for other civil actions it means the complaint has been filed with the court.

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