Massachusetts Rent Increase Laws

Massachusetts Rent Increase Laws

Last Updated: January 13, 2023 by Ashley Porter

Quick Facts Answer
Reason Needed No
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:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender (including gender identity)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Nationality or origin
  • Familial status
  • Disability

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.