Fair Housing

What is Fair Housing?

Whether you are selling or renting a home for yourself or your family, it is important to understand your rights under Fair Housing laws!

Fair Housing choice is the ability of individuals with similar income levels to have available to them the same housing choices and equal treatment in their search for housing. In an effort to end housing segregation, in 1968, the United States Congress passed Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act making acts of housing discrimination against certain protected classes illegal.

Federal and State Laws make it illegal to discriminate against people when renting or purchasing a home based on the following.
  • Age
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Familial Status
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Source of Income
  • Veteran History / Military Status

Important Notes to Keep in Mind

  • Landlords have the right to choose the best tenant for their unit using this criteria as long as it is applied equally to all applicants:
    • Credit Check
    • Criminal Record Check
    • References From Previous Landlords
    • Sufficient Funds to Cover the Cost of Rent
  • Lead Paint
    • Massachusetts Lead Paint law makes it illegal for a property owner or real estate agent to refuse to sell or rent a home to a family with children because of the presence of lead paint in the home.
    • For more information contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.


  • The Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) (PDF) is an assessment of how local laws, government practices, real estate practices and other local conditions affect the location, availability, and accessibility of housing. The AI also identifies areas where correction actions might broaden housing options protected by fair housing laws. This document is prepared by the City of Lowell in conjunction with the Consolidated Plan process every five years.
  • The Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Plan (PDF) outlines the actions that the City will take to communicate with residents qualifying for federally assisted programs who need services or information in a language other than English.
  • Learn about your Rights as a Tenant (PDF).
  • Learn about your Rights as a Landlord (PDF).