Not necessarily. A landlord can request a criminal background check and credit check ONLY IF the request is being made to ALL applicants – not just because of an applicant’s protected class. However, a landlord that has a policy excluding all those with criminal records is likely violating the Fair Housing Act.

This is illegal. An owner must make the property lead safe at their own expense.

Possibly. There has to be a connection between the request and the disability, and the request must be reasonable. A landlord may be allowed to ask for some information related to the request and the disability. But there must be an interactive process – a request cannot simply be ignored or denied if it is connected to your disability and is reasonable. Here are great resources for accommodations: 

Reasonable Modifications 

Assistance Animals

If you have a voucher, its value is part of your monthly income. People with vouchers cannot be denied housing based on that criteria. You should have the opportunity to demonstrate that you can afford the apartment.

In Massachusetts, a person who uses a voucher is a member of a protected class. It is illegal to say, put in print or publish discriminatory language related to a protected class. You should be allowed to apply and show your ability to afford any apartment that meets the requirements of your voucher. Report any ads or landlords violating this law to your caseworker and consider reporting it to the MCAD or a fair housing organization.

No, that is illegal in Massachusetts. Any housing that a child resides in must be lead safe and it is the responsibility of the owner to inspect and fix it if necessary. Refusing to rent to families with kids violates both fair housing law and the Massachusetts Lead Law. If your child is under 6 years old, the law requires the landlord to make the apartment lead safe.

Write down whom you spoke with, the dates, and any additional notes. Save any rental advertisements, emails or text messages you have. Contact HUD, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) or another fair housing organization.