Finding Affordable Rental Housing

Finding an affordable home to rent that meets your needs can be challenging.  The two websites below are good resources for searching for affordable housing.

Housing search resources

www.mdhousingsearch.org  – Affordable rentals, including tax credit communities, are listed on this website which is funded by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.  Searches can be done by county and by town within the county.  In addition, listings note if they are age restricted for seniors and if units are income restricted because of the tax credit program or a rent subsidy.

www.gosection8.com  – This is a national website that lists all properties that take Section 8/Housing Choice Vouchers.

craigslist.org – Craigslist is a basic location-based classifieds platform where users can post items and services available or wanted. The housing section is used for new leases on apartment and home rentals and also room rentals in shared homes. 

Rent.com – is a rental website with guides for renters such as first-time renting, rent negotiation, pet rent, and budget conscious. 

Apartments.com

Zillow.com 

Realtors – Finding a realtor isn’t just for people who want to buy a house – realtors can also be a resource for someone who would like to find a rental property. A realtor not only knows the area and market prices, but they may know of available properties that are not listed on the major rental websites.

What to look for in a unit

When looking for a home it is important to think about the features that are important to you. Do you want a washer and dryer in your unit?  Is a shower stall easier for you to use than a tub? Do you need to be on a lower floor for safety or due to anxiety?  Is the top floor best for you because hearing people walking above you makes you uncomfortable? These and many more questions are things to consider when touring a unit.

Housing Discrimination

Unfortunately, discrimination in the renting and selling of housing still occurs.  Since disability was added as a protected class in 1988, disability-based Fair Housing complaints have vastly outnumbered all other complaints of discrimination.  In 2019, HUD reported to Congress that 45% of the Fair Housing complaints received were based on discrimination against people with disabilities.

Questions a housing provider can ask

A housing provider can ask questions about your income, if you have rented a place before and if you have ever been evicted, if you will follow the lease and community rules and if you have a criminal background. 

Questions a housing provider and cannot ask

A housing provider CANNOT ask you if you have a disability, the nature of your disability or the severity of your disability.  The housing provider also cannot ask you to give them medical information about your disability, including the diagnosis, or for any of your medical history.  They can’t ask if you take medication, see a therapist,  or if you are able to take care of your personal needs like bathing and dressing.  

If you request a reasonable accommodation or modification, your housing provider can ask for medical documentation to confirm the need for the accommodation.  The documentation must come from a healthcare professional (I.e., doctor, nurse, therapist, social worker, case manager) who knows enough about your disability-related needs to confirm that you need the accommodation.  However, the documentation does not need to reveal any medical information, nor is it necessary to give the housing provider any medical records.

Where to get help

The following organizations can help you if you think you have been discriminated against due to your disability:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD
www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint 

HUD Philadelphia Regional Office of FHEO
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-656-0662
1-888-799-2085
TTY: 215-656-3450
ComplaintsOffice03@hud.gov 

Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland
www.fairhousingmd.org/housing-inquiry-form/ 

Maryland Commission on Civil Rights=
https://mccr.maryland.gov/Pages/Intake.aspx