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Investigations and Enforcement

"Everyone Deserves a Fair Chance"

What is the Fair Housing Law?

In the City of Boston, it is illegal to discriminate in the rental or sale of housing based on the following protected classes:

  • Race
  • Ancestry
  • Gender Identity
  • Sex
  • Color
  • Military Status
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Disability/Handicap
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Marital Status
  • National Origin
  • Source of Income (Public Assistance, Including Section 8)
  • Familial Status (including presence of children)

Overview

The Boston Fair Housing Commission investigates housing discrimination complaints. Trained investigators analyze information gathered from interviews and records to determine whether there is "probable cause" (sufficient evidence to believe) to conclude that housing discrimination occured.

When a discrimination complaint results in a Probable Cause finding that cannot be resolved through conciliation, the Boston Fair Housing Commission may hold a public hearing, award damages and assess fines, and order and monitor actions to prevent further discrimination. The Commission reviews compliance with settlement agreements and may, upon a finding of non-compliance, take enforcement action.

Prohibited Practices

Housing Discrimination May Include:
  • You are told the landlord does not accept rental assistance such as Section 8 vouchers.

  • You make an appointment to look at a home or unit for sale but when you get there you're told the property has been sold. You later see the property is still on the market.

  • You are told that an apartment has been rented but you later see that it has been listed again.

  • You are told a higher selling price or rent than what was advertised or what you heard others being told.

  • You are told property cannot be rented to families because of the presence of lead paint.

  • You are directed to or away from neighborhoods based on race, national origin, religion, or disability.

  • You are given terms of a rental or sale which are different from those given to other persons, such as being assessed different fees.


If the discrimination occured outside of Boston, you may contact the following organizations for assistance.

External Organizations

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Announcements

  • Housing Discrimination Workshop

    Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Inspectional Services, Office of Fair Housing & Equity, Department of  Housing & Urban Development & the Boston NAACP Housing Committee Invite you to a Housing Discrimination Workshop on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the Boston NAACP.

    Workshop Flyer

  • Save the Date - Stand Against Racism!

    The U.S. Department of Housing  and Urban Development/ Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is partnering with the Boston Fair Housing Commission for the YWCA Boston 5th Annual Stand Against Racism National Day on Friday, April 25th, 2014.

    Event Information

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