Housing: Applying for Housing through the Mail

If it is not easy for you to get out of the house, you can apply for housing by mail.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is difficult for me to get to a housing office to get an application for housing. Sometimes there is no public transportation to the rental office or the office is not accessible. Can I ask the housing provider to send me an application?

Often housing providers will have a policy requiring anyone interested in housing to come to their rental office to complete an application. If, as a result of your disability, you are unable to go to a rental office to pick up an application for housing, the housing provider must mail the application to you as a reasonable accommodation.

A reasonable accommodation is a modification to a rule, policy or practice. The Federal Fair Housing Act [24 CFR Part 100.204] requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodation when needed to ensure a person with a disability has an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit. This requirement applies to all types of housing providers including Public Housing Authorities, owners and managers of MHFA- and HUD- assisted housing and private landlords.

Note that for state-funded Public Housing programs, Public Housing Authorities are required by state regulation [760 CMR 5.06] to mail out housing applications whether or not the applicant is a person with a disability.

What should I do if a housing provider refuses to mail me a housing application?

Remind them that the Fair Housing Act requires them to make a reasonable accommodation and that mailing an application falls into this category. If they still refuse, you can contact your local Independent Living Center and they can advocate on your behalf and/or help you file a complaint with the appropriate agency. You can also call one of the federal or state agencies responsible for enforcing fair housing listed below.

Every applicant will eventually have to meet with the housing provider, but this meeting does not have to take place at the application stage.

If you believe you have been discriminated against in your housing search, you may receive assistance from the following agencies:

Boston Regional Office of FHEO
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr.
Federal Building
10 Causeway Street, 3rd Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02222-1092
Phone: 617-994-8200 or
TTY: 617-565-5453
Email: ma_webmanager@hud.gov

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)  is the state’s chief civil rights agency.

OFFICES

  • Boston Office
    One Ashburton Place
    6th Floor, Room 601
    Boston, MA 02108
    Phone: 617-994-6000 or 617-994-6196 (TTY)
  • Springfield Office
    436 Dwight Street
    Second Floor, Room 220
    Springfield, MA 01103
    Phone: 413-739-2145
  • Worcester Office
    484 Main St, Room 320
    Worcester, MA 01608
    Phone: 508-453-9630
  • New Bedford Office
    800 Purchase Street, Room 501
    New Bedford, MA 02740
    Phone: 508-990-2390
    Fax: 508-990-4260

 

Fact Sheet last updated on: 1/20/2017