This Reference Guide summarizes the contents of paragraphs 3b, 3c, 4, 4a, 5, 6, 7, 7a, 7b, 8, 10, 11, 13 and 18 in Chapter 151B, Section 4 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

Protected Classes

State & Federal Law

The classes that are protected under State and Federal law include:

  • Race
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-6-7-7b-8-13
  • Color
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-6-7-7b-8-13
  • Religious Creed
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-6-7-7b-8-13
  • National Origin
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-6-7-7b-8-13
  • Sex
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-6-7-7b-8-13-18
  • Children
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-7b-11-13
  • Disability
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-6-7-7a-7b-13

State Law

The classes that are protected under State law only include:

  • Ancestry
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-6-7-7b-8
  • Marital Status
    Paragraphs 6-7-7b-8
  • Public Assistance Recipiency
    Paragraphs 7b-10
  • Veteran/Armed Forces Member
    Paragraphs 6-7
  • Sexual Orientation
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-6-7-7b-8
  • Age (excluding minors)
    Paragraphs 3b-3c-6-7-8-13
  • Gender Identity
    Paragraph 6

Prohibited Practices

Paragraphs 3b and 3c

Paragraphs 3b and 3c are primarily targeted to the actions of Real Estate Persons, Brokers, Salespersons and Agents and these persons cannot discriminate when performing a transaction that involves residential real estate. Also, persons who seek membership in organizations or services relating to the business of selling real estate and person whose business includes granting morgtage loans cannot be discriminated against.

Paragraphs 4 and 4a

Paragraph 4 prohibits retaliation against a person because that person has filed a complaint or has spoken out against discriminatory practices.

Paragraph 4a states that any person exercising a right under Chapter 151B can file a complaint against any person who coerces, intimidates, threatens or interferes with them. Also, if a third person is helping another person exercise their 151B rights, then neither can that third person be coerced, intimidated, threatened or interfered with.

Paragraph 5

Paragraph 5 states that it is illegal for any person to aid or abet in doing any acts that are forbidden under 151B.

Paragraphs 6, 7 and 8

Paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 prohibit the owner, lessee, sub lessee, licensed real estate broker, assignee, managing agent, other person with tight of ownership or possession, any agent or employee of the aforementioned persons or any organization of unit owners in a condo or housing cooperative from:

  • Refusing to rent, lease or sell housing
  • Making any inquiry or record of the person seeking to rent, lease or buy housing,pertain to that person being a member of any of the above protected classes (excluding public assistance recipiency or children).

The final portion of this paragraph describes what is required to make new, multifamily construction (3 or more units) accessible to persons with physical disabilities.

Paragraphs 7a and 7b

Paragraph 7a pertains to persons with disabilities. It describes what &e reasonable modifications and reasonable accommodations and defines the discriminationinvolved when an owner refuses to make these changes.

Paragraph 7b prohibits discriminatory advertising in the sale or rental of housing.

Paragraph 10

Paragraph 10 prohibits discrimination in credit, services or rentingaccommodations solely because of public assistance or rent subsidy recipiency.

Paragraph 11

Paragraph 11 prohibits the refusal to rent, lease, or sell, or otherwise deny housing because a child or children will occupy the premises.

Paragraph 13

Paragraph 13 prohibits any person from inducing or preventing the sale or rental of housing by:

  • making representations regarding the entity of or consequences of having members of protected classes in the neighborhood; or
  • falsely representing or not showing all available housing within a requested price range, regardless of its location.

Paragraph 18

Paragraph 18 prohibits sexual harassment of potential or actual tenants or purchasers of property.

Covered Property

Paragraph 6 covers all publicly assisted or multiple dwelling (3 or more units) housing. Paragraph 7 covers all other types of housing,i.e., one and two family units and undeveloped land on which housing will be built. Paragraph 8 covers commercial space.

Source: MCAD Educational Services, January 1992