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Tenants' Rights in Public Housing

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2022

Below is a series of handbooks for public housing tenants about your rights in public housing.

A booklet for tenants in Mass. about how to request a transfer to another apartment and what to do if a housing authority requires you transfer

PDF icon Tenant Participation & Modernization This booklet is for tenants who live in state-aided public housing. It has information to help you understand the modernization process and how you can participate.


PDF icon Using Your Public Housing Grievance Process
A booklet for tenants in Mass. about the grievance process, including worksheets to help you prepare for a grievance hearing.

RTF icon Sample Letter to Request a Grievance Hearing (RTF)

RTF icon Grievance Complaint (RTF)

RTF icon Worksheet to Help You Prepare for Your Grievance Hearing (RTF)

RTF icon Grievance Sample Appeal Letter to EOHLC (RTF)

RTF icon Grievance Sample Appeal Letter to Housing Authority Board (RTF)

PDF iconOur Homes, Our Communities Report
A report prepared by the Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute for Joint Committee on Housing's special hearing on preserving state public housing. The report calls for more capital and operating funds and, through the stories that people rarely hear, shows how tenants are working to protect public housing.

PDF icon Rent in Public Housing, updated April 2019 
This booklet will give you answers to questions about how rents are set in both state and federal public housing in Massachusetts.

PDF icon Understanding Your Lease in Public Housing, updated April 2019
A handbook for tenants in Mass. about leases, including information about guests, pet policies, and how to negotiate better leases.

PDF icon Creating a Memorandum of Understanding
Agreements called "Memorandum of Understanding" (MOU) can be powerful tools for tenant groups to negotiate how to work with the housing authority on issues of concern. This booklet explains the law, what steps to take to create an MOU, and includes a sample MOU.

PDF icon Transfers in Massachusetts Public Housing
This booklet gives tenants in public housing in Massachusetts answers to questions about transfers. As a tenant, you have important rights under the law. You may have additional rights in your lease and your housing authority’s transfer policy. These rights, however, have meaning only when you know and use them.

PDF icon How to Lower Your Rent and Boost Your SNAP Benefits: An Advocacy Tool for Elder and Disabled Public Housing Tenants explains how to lower your rent and get the most out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

PDF icon Chain of Command for Resolving Problems explains the steps to take if you live in public housing and you need to solve a problem.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Our Homes, Our Communities

Our Homes, Our Communities

Through stories that people rarely hear, the report shows how tenants are working to protect public housing.

Recommendations in Spanish 

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