The Massachusetts rental agreements are legal contracts created when a tenant wishes to use a real property that is being overseen by a landlord or property owner. These documents define the terms of the property, including the amount of the rent. All agreements are subject to Massachusetts landlord-tenant laws.
Massachusetts Rental Agreement Types
Massachusetts Required Lease Disclosures
- Landlord’s Name & Address (required for all) – Every Massachusetts lease agreement must include a disclosure that outlines the contact information of any agents or landlords authorized to act on behalf of the property for the purpose of serving legal documentation (if required).
- Security Deposit Holdings (required for some) – Any Massachusetts lease that charges a security deposit must include disclosure of the bank and account number where the deposit is to be held so the tenant can verify the funds are being handled correctly.
- Security Deposit Receipt (required for some) – If a security deposit is collected, the landlord must provide a receipt of the security deposit to the tenant or prospective tenant. A receipt must be given after receiving the deposit or within 10 days after the beginning of the tenancy, whichever is later.
- Move-In Checklist (required for some) – Massachusetts landlords are required to provide a move-in checklist within 10 days of the move-in date that outlines any damages that are existing before the tenancy begins in addition to a 12-point, bold faced notice that is provided in the statue so that the appropriate damages can be deducted from the security deposit (if applicable).
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure (required for some) – All Massachusetts lease agreements for homes built before 1978 are required to include a lead-based paint safety disclosure form along with an EPA-approved pamphlet regarding the dangers of lead paint in addition to any known hazards that exist in the dwelling unit or the building it resides in.
To learn more about required disclosures in Massachusetts, click here.
Massachusetts Landlord Tenant Laws
- Warranty of Habitability – Massachusetts requires all rental units to include running water, HVAC, adequate plumbing, and more. When one of these systems becomes faulty, a landlord must repair it within 5 days or hire a professional within 14 days. If they fail to do so, an effected tenant may withhold a portion of the rent or use the repair and deduct method.
- Evictions – Massachusetts landlords may evict tenants for a number of reasons including, but not limited to failure to pay rent, a violation of a leasing term, or no lease/end of lease. Landlords must provide tenants with prior notice to quit, depending on the type of eviction. An eviction could take 2 weeks to months to complete.
- Security Deposits – Massachusetts landlords may only charge security deposits that are equal to one month’s rent. In all situations, these deposits must be returned within 30 days of the end of the lease.
- Lease Termination – A month-to-month renter in Massachusetts may be able to terminate their lease early by providing 30 days of advanced notice or a notice equal to the interval between the days of payment, whichever is longer. A fixed-term renter may break their lease early if they can supply proof of the following: active military duty, landlord harassment, statutory uninhabitability, or domestic violence.
- Rent Increases & Fees – Massachusetts’ landlords are not required to limit the amount of frequency of rent increases. The state also does not limit the value of late fees, except for bounced check fees which are capped at $30.
- Landlord Entry – Landlords in Massachusetts are required to give “reasonable” notice for repairs and alterations. Emergency entry is allowed without notice.
- Settling Legal Disputes – To settle a landlord-tenant dispute, people in Massachusetts may utilize the state’s small claims court. These courts accept claims valued at up to $7,000, but not those pertaining to an impending eviction.
To learn more about landlord tenant laws in Massachusetts, click here.