|Max / Limit||None|
|Notice Requirement||30 Days or Frequency of Rent Payments|
Does Massachusetts Have Rent Control?
No, Massachusetts does not have rent control laws limiting the amount that landlords may ask for rent and state law prohibits local governments from establishing their own rent control laws unless participation by landlords is completely voluntary.
How Much Can a Landlord Raise Rent By in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, landlords can raise the rent by any amount that they wish. There is no legal limit or cap on the amount of a rent increase.
When Can a Landlord Raise Rent in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, landlords can raise the rent for any reason as long as they give proper notice, don’t do so during the fixed term of a lease (unless the lease allows for it), and aren’t doing so for certain discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.
If a lease agreement contains a provision that allows for a rent increase during the lease term, it must state clearly and conspicuously the terms and conditions of the rent increase including the exact amount of the increase. The only exception where the lease won’t state the exact amount is for a tax escalator clause.
When Can’t a Landlord Raise Rent in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, landlords cannot raise the rent during the middle of a lease’s fixed term (unless stated otherwise in the lease agreement), for certain discriminatory reasons (like race or age), or for certain retaliatory reasons (such as in response to a tenant requesting repairs).
The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination due to:
- Gender (including gender identity)
- Sexual orientation
- Nationality or origin
- Familial status
Massachusetts law also prevents landlords from increasing rent in retaliation. An action by a landlord is considered retaliatory if it occurs within 6 months after something a tenant does.
Rent increases are considered retaliatory if they are in response to a tenant:
- Filing a complaint with the appropriate agency regarding the health or safety of the property
- Joining or organizing a tenants’ group or union
- Requesting repairs
How Much Notice is Needed to Raise Rent in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts law requires that landlords give at least 30 days’ notice for a tenancy-at-will before increasing rent, or the amount of time equal to the frequency of rent payments (e.g. every two months), whichever is longer.
For example, if the tenant pays rent every two months, the landlord must give 60 days’ notice before increasing rent.
For tenants on a year lease, landlords must wait until the end of the lease term before increasing rent. There is no specific notice period required in this situation, but landlords are required to act in a fair and reasonable way.
How Often Can Rent Be Increased in Massachusetts?
Landlords in Massachusetts can increase the rent as often as they wish, as long as sufficient notice is provided each time.
- 1 MA Gen L Ch 40P § 1-5
No city or town may enact, maintain or enforce rent control of any kind…Source Link
- 2 MA Gen L Ch 40P § 1-5
…except that any city or town that accepts this chapter may adopt rent control regulation that provides…compliance on the part of property owners as to the rent control regulation…shall be entirely voluntary and uncoerced…Source Link
- 3 940 Mass. Reg. 3.17
It shall be unfair or deceptive act or practice for an owner to include in any rental agreement any term which…Fails to state clearly and conspicuously in the rental agreement the conditions upon which an automatic increase in rent shall be determined.Source Link
- 4 940 Mass. Reg. 3.17
…nothing…shall be deemed to invalidate an otherwise valid tax escalator clause…Source Link
- 5 MA Gen L Ch 186 § 15C
No lease relating to residential real estate shall contain a provision which obligates a lessee to make payments to the lessor on account of an increased real estate tax…unless such provision expressly sets forth…Source Link
- 6 MA Gen L Ch 186 § 18
The receipt of any notice of…increase in rent…within six months after the tenant has commenced, proceeded with, or obtained relief in such action… shall create a rebuttable presumption that such notice or other action is a reprisal…Source Link
- 7 MA Gen L Ch 186 § 12
…the time of such notice shall be sufficient if it is equal to the interval between the days of payment or thirty days, whichever is longer.Source Link
- 8 MA Gen L Ch 93A § 2
…unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful.Source Link