Massachusetts Rent Increases & Fees

Last Updated: April 29, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

 QUICK FACTS
  • Rent Control / Increase Limitations. Massachusetts state landlords can raise rent only after the lease has ended.
  • Notice Required to Raise Rent. For month-to-month tenancies, Massachusetts landlords must provide 30 days’ notice from next rent due date.
  • Bounced Check Fees. Massachusetts state landlords may charge up to $30 for bounced checks.

When Can a Landlord Increase Rent?

A Massachusetts landlord may not increase rent during the term of a fixed-term lease unless the lease has a “tax escalator clause.”

In all other cases, the landlord may increase rent at the end of the lease, or if they are renting to an “at-will” tenant and the landlord may increase rent at any time so long as the appropriate notice is provided.

Additionally, a landlord and tenant should agree to them terms of a rent increase.

Questions? To chat with a Massachusetts landlord tenant attorney, Click here

When is it Illegal to Raise Rent?

Massachusetts legislation indicates that a landlord may not increase rent in retaliation for a tenant exercising his/her tenant rights. (Massachusetts Retaliation Law)

According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, it is also illegal for a landlord to raise rent based on the age, race, religion, nation or origin, familial status, or disability status of a tenant.

Is there a Rent Increase Limit?

There are currently no rent increase limits in Massachusetts.

How Much Notice is Needed for Raising Rent?

There is no state statute; however, it is customary that a Massachusetts landlord provides an “at-will” tenant with at least a 30-Day Notice before increasing rent.

For a FREE rent increase notice template, click here.

How Often Can Rent Be Increased?

Massachusetts doesn’t legislate how often a landlord can increase rent.

Laws Regarding Late Fees

Massachusetts does not legislate the amount a landlord may impose for late payment of rent. However, the landlord must wait until the rent is 30 days past due before imposing a late fee.

Laws Regarding Bounced Check Fees

A landlord may impose a fee of up to $30 when a check has insufficient funds. (Mass. General Laws c. 62C, § 35)

Cities in the State with Rent Control

Massachusetts law indicates that it prohibits any city or town from implementing rent control, unless:

  • The rent control becomes entirely voluntary after six months with those choosing not to comply with the rent control being completely unaffected by any aspect of the rent control regulations or any subsequent rent control regulations.
  • The regulation does not include the regulation of occupancy, services, evictions, condominium conversion, or the removal of properties from such regulation or apply such regulation to units owned by landlords with less than 10 rental units or units that have fair market rent over $400.
  • Any municipality adopting these regulations compensates owners of rent-controlled units for each unit for the difference between the unit’s fair market price and the rent-controlled price of the unit from the municipality’s general funds so that the cost of rent control is carried by all taxpayers of the controlling municipality. (Massachusetts law preempting rent control).