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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Housing Laws

January 31, 2021

How do I prove the abuse to the landlord? Is the information kept confidential?

The owner/landlord has the right to request proof that you or one of your household members is a victim of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, or stalking. The owner can even ask for the name of the abuser/perpetrator.1 Any of the following documents can be given as proof:

  1. a copy of a valid protection order obtained by the tenant, co-tenant, or member of the household;
  2. a record from a federal, state, or local court or law enforcement of an act of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, or stalking, including the name of the abuser, if known; or
  3. a written verification from a qualified third party to whom the abuse was reported. This verification needs to include:
  4. the name of the service provider;
  5. the date of the abuse;
  6. the name of the perpetrator, if known; and
  7. your statement, under penalty of perjury, confirming that the incident described in the verification is true and correct. This statement is only required if you are an adult and have the capacity to do so.2

Note: When asking for the locks to be changed, if the abuser/perpetrator is also a tenant, co-tenant, or household member, you have to provide a copy of one of the first two options, above, indicating that the abuser poses an immediate (imminent) threat of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, or stalking.3

The documentation and information you provide is confidential and the landlord cannot share it with any person or agency. The only exceptions to this restriction are:

  • if the victim provides written authorization; or
  • if the information is required by a court order, government regulation, or governmental audit.4

1 M.G.L. 186 § 24(a)
2 M.G.L. 186 § 24(e)
3 M.G.L. 186 § 26(c)
4 M.G.L. 186 § 24(f)