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Boston Fair Housing regulations

Last updated: 12/4/17

Boston Fair Housing regulations

Find out how the Fair Housing Commission enforces fair housing laws in Boston.

We enforce local, state, and federal fair housing laws. The commission is a Fair Housing Assistance Program. You can learn more about federal programs authorized to investigate housing discrimination through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Still have questions? Contact:
Fair Housing and Equity
1 City Hall Square
Room 966
Boston, MA 02201-2041
United States

Laws and discrimination

Our commission makes sure property owners don't discriminate against tenants or buyers. In the City of Boston, it’s illegal to discriminate when renting, buying, selling, or securing financing for any housing. You can’t discriminate someone based on their:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • National Origin
  • Ancestry
  • Sex
  • Gender Identity
  • Gender Expression
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Marital Status
  • Source of Income*
  • Family Status**
  • Military Status

*For example renters using Section 8 voucher

** For example, a landlord can’t discriminate against someone if they have children

Learn who else is protected by the Fair Housing Act.

What is housing discrimination?

Discrimination comes in many forms. Some examples of housing discrimination include:

  • The landlord tells you they don't accept rental assistance. This includes Section 8 vouchers, social security disability vouchers, and veterans vouchers.
  • You are told you should or shouldn't live in certain neighborhoods based on your race, religion, or disability.
  • The property owner tells you the apartment has been rented, but you later see it listed again.
  • You were told your family can't rent a property because there is lead paint.
  • The terms of your rental or sale are different than the terms of other tenants. For example, you might be paying different fees.

If you feel like you've faced housing discrimination, you can file a complaint with our office.

Facing housing discrimination?

The first thing you should do is file a complaint.

Our commission takes housing discrimination seriously. We will investigate all complaints. If we find that there has been discrimination, we’ll try to resolve the complaint.

If the housing discrimination happened outside of Boston, you'll need to file a complaint through the state. If you've faced any non-housing discrimination, you can also file a complaint through the state.