State law prohibits discrimination in the selling or renting of housing based on a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, ancestry, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, children, handicap, and receipt of public assistance. The law covers virtually all land in Massachusetts. The exception is where the owner of a two-family home occupies one of the residences (i.e. apartment, condominium), but only if there is no discrimination in the advertising of the vacancy, if there no broker involved, and if the homeseeker or renter it not a recipient of public assistance.
One of the most common forms of housing discrimination is refusing to rent or sell a residence to persons with children who would live in the residence. This sometimes occurs where there is lead paint in a residence, which must be removed before children can live in the residence. It is impermissible to refuse to rent or sell to families with children because of the need to remove lead paint.