A residential lease agreement in Boston is a binding document between a landlord and a tenant. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions surrounding the use of a rental property in exchange for payment.
Residential Lease Agreement Requirements in Boston
Boston currently has no city-specific residential lease agreement requirements or disclosures. As such, landlords and tenants in Boston follow Massachusetts’ requirements for lease agreements.
Landlord-Tenant Rights and Regulations in Boston
When it comes to landlord-tenant rights, landlords should be aware of the following:
Senior Security Ordinance
The Senior Security Ordinance of Boston helps improve the safety and security of senior citizens and tenants with disabilities. The Housing Division will inspect homes that have been designed to accommodate these tenants and ensure that proper safety measures have been taken. They also provide the following services:
- Crime prevention survey response
- Lights, locks, and alarm system inspections
- Safety plan development
Breathe Easy at Home Program
Boston’s web-based program, Breath Easy at Home, works to connect medical professionals with housing inspectors. The goal is to improve the living conditions of tenants with asthma or other chronic health conditions. Doctors or nurses may refer their patients for a home inspection if they suspect the patient’s living situation is contributing to their condition. Then, trained inspectors will identify any health triggers in the home, such as:
- Mold or chronic dampness
- Pest infestations
- Drafty doors and windows
- Heating issues
- Poor ventilation
- Carpet damage
Once the problem has been identified, housing inspectors will work with property owners to resolve the issue. It is important to note that this is not a relocation program, and the purpose is to make sure the tenant’s current home is safe and livable.
Optional Lease Agreement Disclosures and Addendums in Boston
While not mandatory, landlords can add specific disclosures and addendums to their leases. This helps outline the responsibilities of the tenant and can prevent future liability issues.
Boston’s climate becomes quite humid during the summers—leading to higher mold risk. Landlords may want to include a mold addendum to prevent future liability issues for mold-related damage.
Pest Control Addendum
Since Boston ranks high on the list of pest-infested cities, it would be wise for landlords to include a pest control addendum. This agreement should highlight the tenants’ responsibilities related to pest prevention—including reporting any signs of pests to management as soon as possible.
Summary of Required Lease Disclosures for the State of Massachusetts
- Landlord’s Name and Address – Massachusetts leases must contain the name and address of the landlord or authorized agent.
- Security Deposit Holdings – Landlords collecting a security deposit must within 30 days of collection disclose the holding information to the tenant. This disclosure must state the amount of deposit, location of funds, and account number.
- Security Deposit Receipt – Massachusetts landlords collecting a security deposit must provide a receipt to the tenant or prospective tenant, after receiving the deposit or within 10 days of the lease beginning (whichever is later).
- Move-In Checklist – Massachusetts landlords collecting a security deposit must inventory the rental unit’s condition with a move-in checklist, within 10 days of move-in.
- Fire Insurance Information – Massachusetts landlords must provide fire insurance information within 15 days to any tenant who submits a written request.
- Lead-Based Paint – For any property built before 1978, federal law requires that a Massachusetts residential lease must contain a lead-based paint disclosure.