On January 13, 2013, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law S. 2402, "An Act Relative to Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence, Rape, Sexual Assault and Stalking." Chapter 402 of the Acts of 2012, amends Chapter 186 of the General Laws by adding seven sections.
Jeffrey Turk, on the Turk and Quijano, LLP website, presents a straightforward overview of the new law in an article entitled, "Understanding the new Violence Against Women Act".
A victim's advocate explanation and links to resources can be found on the April 3, 2013 posting, "New Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence, Rape, Sexual Assault and Stalking", by the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Greater Boston Legal Services, Jane Doe Inc., and the Victim Rights Law Center.
The new law is not without its critics, however, and a posting by Elmir Simov entitled, "The New Domestic Violence Bill Analyzed", raises concerns with the new law from a landlord's perspective.
Massachusetts is not the first state to deal with the issues. A comprehensive report, Maintaining Safe and Stable Housing for Domestic Violence Survivors", was prepared in 2012 by the National Housing Law Project as a "manual for attorneys and advocates."