Housing Consumer Education Center Newsletter
Housing Search Guide for People with Disabilities (Reasonable Accommodation) – from Citizens’ Housing and Planning Assoc., CHAPA)
A reasonable accommodation is a change in the rules or practices of a development so that a person with a disability has equal opportunity to apply for and use the housing. Landlords are legally obligated to provide accommodations that are reasonable to a person with a disability. Accommodations must be practical and can’t pose an ‘undue administrative or financial burden’ on the owner. The accommodations cannot alter the main function of the housing. You can request a reasonable accommodation from an apartment manager during the application process if there is something that would prevent you from easily applying due to your disability.
Asking for a Reasonable Accommodation in Applying
You must ask for the accommodation that you need. Your landlord or housing manager may not know that you have a disability or, if they do know, they may not know how it affects you and what kinds of accommodations you need.
During the application process, call the development’s contact person and explain that you need a reasonable accommodation made in order for you to participate in the application process. When you submit your application, be sure to note the agreement about the reasonable accommodation.
Sample Reasonable Accommodation Request Letter:
I am writing to request reasonable accommodation with regard to my disability and my housing. Specifically, I am writing to request (Example: that any future notices be sent to me in large print) I need this accommodation because (Example: I have a visual impairment and find small print to be difficult to read) I have enclosed a letter from my health care provider stating that this request is necessary. As you know, because I have a disability, fait housing laws entitle me to reasonable accommodations. Thank you very much in advance for your understanding. I look forward to speaking with you regarding this request.
Examples of Reasonable Accommodations:
▪ Allowing service animals when the building has a ‘no pet’ policy.
▪ Keeping a laundry room door closed so that fumes do not reach someone with multiple chemical sensitivity.
▪ Providing notices to tenants in large print
▪ Allowing a person to keep their apartment though it is unoccupied while they are in a hospital.
Discrimination in rental housing based upon your disability is prohibited by both federal and state civil rights laws. A person with a disability is someone who has a physical or mental impairment limiting major life activities. Family members and individuals associated with a person with a disability are also protected against discrimination.
If you think you have been discriminated against by a real estate agent, landlord or housing manager, it is important to do something about it.
Examples of discriminatory actions:
▪ Refusing to rent to you because of your disability. Landlords or housing managers cannot refuse to rent to a person with a disability because their income is too low if they accept non-disabled applicants with the same income.
▪ Offering you different terms and conditions for your lease. Landlords or housing managers cannot require that you, and not other tenants, pay an extra security deposit.
▪ Refusing to reasonably accommodate the needs of a person with disability. A landlord cannot evict a person who is blind for having a service animal.
Steps to Address Discrimination
● Write down everything that happened including the date, time of day, the address and phone number of the person you talked to, everything you and the other person said. Keep any papers you have related to the incident.
● Contact an Advocate who can assist in dealing with landlords who refuse reasonable accommodation. A fair housing organization will investigate a landlord or real estate to determine if they are illegally discriminating against you. You can use their assessment to file a complaint.
Massachusetts Office on Disability: 800-322-2020
HUD, Office of fair Housing and Equal Opportunity: 800-827-5005
The Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston: 617-399-0491
The Housing Discrimination Project: 800-675-7309
Mass. Commission Against Discrimination: 617-727-3990
Disability Law Center: 800-872-9992
New England Subsidized Housing – Looking Beyond MA for Housing
Following is a list of housing authorities in New Hampshire for those willing and interested in approaching subsidized housing outside of Massachusetts:
Berlin HA 603-762-4240
Claremont HA 603-542-6411
Concord HA 603-224-4059
Derry HA 603-434-8717
Dover HA 603-742-5804
Exeter HA 603-778-8110
Franklin HA 603-934-3508
Keene HA 603-352-6161
Laconia HA 603-524-2112
Lancaster HA 603-788-4928
Lebanon HA 603-298-5753
Manchester HA 603-624-2100
Nashua HA 603-883-5661
NH Housing Finance Authority 603-472-8623
Newmarket HA 603-659-5444
Portsmouth HA 603-436-4310
Rochester HA 603-332-4126
Salem HA 603-893-6417
Somersworth HA 603-692-2864
NEARLISTINGS.ORG is easily accessible online and a convenient way to browse for affordable apartments and make contact with landlords eager to rent to you. Landlords have access to the site in order to post new apartment listings. Tenants can go on and search for an apartment that suits their specific needs. There are currently 55 postings on the site from Lowell and from surrounding communities. The listings give very detailed information about the available units and often have photographs showing the interior of the units.
Apartment Search/Smart tenant Workshop Thur. Aug 9 10-11 AM
Foreclosure Prevention every other Thursday for 2 hours from 5:30 to 7:30 PM . To register, call 978-0600 x3
Employment and Training 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 10AM -11 AM
To register for a workshop, call 978-654-6691.
Free legal Advice, 4th Wednesday of each month. The opportunity to meet with a legal services attorney. You must sign up in advance by contacting the Housing Consumer Education Center at 978-459-0551.
Subsidized Housing Workshops
Aug 8 5:30 PM (English)
Aug 15 Wed. 11 AM (Spanish)
Utilities Education Aug 23 Thur 10-11 AM
GED Classes—Ongoing Enrollment Contact Yolande Pere at 978-654-5719 or Yolande Pere at 978-654-5719.
Veteran’s Benefits Workshop Aug 14 & Aug 28 10-11 AM
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS:
Adult Education of Lowell: 978-937-8989
Amesbury Community Action 978-282-1000
Bonnie CLAC (Car Loans) 1-866-455-2522
Cambodian Mutual Assoc. 978-454-6200
Catholic Charities (Lowell) 978-452-1421
Catholic Charities (Lawrence) 978-685-5930
Chelmsford Housing Authority 978-256-7425
Christmas in April 978-458-7816
Coalition for a Better Acre 978-970-0600
Community Action of Haverhill 978-373-1971
Community Action of Lawrence 978-681-4900
Elder Services of Merrimack Valley 978-683-7747
Good Walk Friday 978-927-5847
GRIP Project 978-458-3622