Applying for Housing and Reasonable Accommodations
If it is not easy for you to get out of the house, you can apply for housing by mail and request reasonable accommodations.
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 HUD
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr.
10 Causeway Street, 3rd Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02222-1092
Phone: 617-994-8200 or
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is the state’s chief civil rights agency.
- 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
- Worcester Office
484 Main St, Room 320
Worcester, MA 01608
- New Bedford Office
800 Purchase Street, Room 501
New Bedford, MA 02740
Fact Sheet last updated on: 3/22/2021