What landlords need to know about housing assistance programs in MA

Learn about your role in Massachusetts housing assistance programs like RAFT and housing vouchers (Section 8) that help your tenants pay rent.

As a landlord or property manager, you have a role in your tenants’ applications for rental assistance programs, such as Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and housing vouchers (such as Section 8 and MRVP). This page also contains information on programs that support you as a landlord and homeowner, such as mortgage protection and legal services related to the eviction process.

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Want to help a family exiting shelter?

If you are a landlord with available units and are interested in renting to families coming out of shelter, please fill out this form.

Landlords who rent to families exiting shelter with an EOHLC voucher or the HomeBASE program (details on both programs below) can access a lease-up/sign-on incentive of up to one month’s rent​.

For those landlords leasing to families who have vouchers, they may also access additional funds up to a total of $4000 (including the lease-up/sign-on bonus) to cover repairs for items needed to pass inspection.

How RAFT can help pay tenants' rent

RAFT is a state program that provides emergency help for housing costs to people in need. If your tenant is struggling to pay rent, they may be eligible for financial assistance. If their application is accepted, we will send payment directly to you.

Landlords have a critical role in the RAFT application process. 

You can also use the portal to check application status. If you need assistance, find your Regional Administering Agency (RAA), and they'll help you complete an application. You can also contact Mass 211 or dial 2-1-1 for help. 

If your tenant has already submitted their tenant application, you’ll be notified by email with directions about completing your landlord application. You must complete your landlord application within 21 days. It is critical that you complete your landlord application for the money to be sent to you. If you don’t, the application process will time out and the application will be closed. 

Find screen-by-screen instructions on how to set up a landlord/property owner profile, fill out the application, and upload documents.

Read Landlords' Frequently Asked Questions about RAFT.

Eviction resources and obligations for landlords

What you need to know if you plan to evict a tenant

Chapter 151B of the Massachusetts General Laws prohibits you from discriminating against a tenant because they receive federal, state, or local housing rental assistance. Get advice from your lawyer before declining rental assistance. 

You cannot evict tenants who have a pending RAFT application for nonpayment of rent. 

After receiving a RAFT award, you can still file for eviction if your tenant violates the lease for a reason other than rent issues, or if they don’t pay the portion of rent they agreed to. You do not have to agree to forgive back rent or accept reduced rent.

Notice to Quit Requirements for Landlords

Massachusetts has requirements in place for landlords about issuing notices to quit. As of April 1, 2023, all landlords must deliver an accompanying form when issuing a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent to residential tenants.

Eviction legal services for landlords of 2-3 family homes  

You may qualify for legal help with housing issues if you own and live in your property and rent out at least one unit. The Volunteer Lawyers Project may be able to help if you are in court with a tenant, considering an eviction, or dealing with foreclosure. Contact the Volunteer Lawyers Project or call them at 617-603-1700

Massachusetts Community Mediation Centers offer free pre-court mediation between landlords and tenants over lease disputes or mediation in summary process cases referred through the district courts. Mediation is a confidential, voluntary, and non-judgmental process where a neutral third party (the mediator) helps people resolve differences based on what is important to them.  

How HomeBASE helps tenants pay rent

HomeBASE helps families find and keep stable rental housing. Tenants can use it to pay part of their rent.   

HomeBASE pays up to $45,000 over a 36-month period. During this time, the tenant pays at least 30% of their income towards rent. The rest is paid directly to you by a Regional Administering Agency (RAA). Both a tenant and a landlord must complete a HomeBASE application.

Bonus Payment: Landlords can get a lease-up/sign-on incentive of up to one month’s rent​.

The exact portion of rent paid by the RAA and by your tenant will depend on the rental price and the needs of the family.   

Families in the HomeBASE program are paired with a stabilization case manager to support them. 

How it works

Landlords have to be invited to participate in HomeBASE. You might learn about the program from a potential tenant, a broker, or a Housing Search Worker who represents a tenant.  

Once you and a tenant have agreed that they will rent an apartment from you, the HomeBASE process starts:  

  1. A family requests HomeBASE funds to rent your unit. They work with a Housing Search Worker, who submits the program application.  
  2. Then, you will need to fill out the landlord/property manager part of the application. You will receive an email with a link to the state’s HomeBASE application website, as well as a code to get started on your application. You'll upload documents that prove your identity and that you own or manage the unit. Note: You cannot upload anything that can be edited, such as a Word or Excel file. Also, there is a limit of 10 MB for any document you upload. 
  3. Once both the tenant and landlord portions of the application are submitted, the RAA will review them. Decisions take approximately 5 business days.  

How can I follow up on my application?  

How Rental Vouchers help tenants pay rent

Housing assistance for tenants can also come in the form of rental vouchers. If your tenants hold rental vouchers, they will pay a portion of the rent based on their income. A housing agency will pay the remainder of the rent directly to you. There are different kinds of voucher programs offered by federal and state governments. For all voucher programs, your rental unit must meet minimum standards for health and safety to qualify. Vouchers are in high demand, so most applicants are on waitlists. 

Housing vouchers are good business for landlords, since it guarantees them payment from a housing agency. Landlords have to follow anti-discrimination rules that apply to tenants using vouchers.

Federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) and MA’s Rental Voucher (MRVP) programs 

  • Your tenants will pay 30% - 40% of their monthly income toward rent. The voucher covers the rest of the rent. 
  • The amount of the voucher is based on income limits and family size:  
  • The housing agency pays you directly 

Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP)

  • For people under 60 who have a disability 
  • For one-bedroom units 
  • Your tenant pays 25% of their income for rent (and some utilities) or 30% if all utilities are included in the rent. The voucher covers the rest. 
  • The housing agency pays you directly 

Find details about the benefits of renting to voucher holders as well as your specific role and responsibilities.  

Mortgage protections for landlords of 1-4 family homes

You might qualify for protection through the Federal CARES Act if you're an owner-occupant of 1-4 family properties. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website or contact a foreclosure counseling agency in your area to find out details. 

Contact   for What landlords need to know about housing assistance programs in MA


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Kevin Connor, press secretary


Main Office
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Last updated: May 3, 2024

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