Massachusetts Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: November 23, 2021 by Elizabeth Souza

The Massachusetts residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a binding document used to formalize an agreement between a landlord and tenant to rent real property in exchange for a fee. This contract is governed by the Massachusetts landlord-tenant law and includes terms and conditions outlining the responsibilities of each party.

Massachusetts Lease Agreement Disclosures

The following disclosures are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in Massachusetts.

Disclosure Applicable to
Landlord Name/Address All Units
Security Deposit Holdings All Units Charging a Security Deposit
Move-In Checklist All Rental Units Charging a Security Deposit
Lead Paint All Units Built Prior to 1978
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Landlord’s Name & Address

Applicable to all rental units in Massachusetts.

Landlords, owners, any individual authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf and the individual responsible for maintenance must provide their name, address and phone number so that future legal notices and demands sent by the tenant can be properly delivered. This information is typically in the rental agreement.

Security Deposit Holdings Disclosure

Applicable to all rental units holding a security deposit.

When charging and holding a security deposit, a Massachusetts landlord must disclose the holding information to the tenant in the lease. This includes the sum of the deposit, the location of the funds and the account number.

SECURITY DEPOSIT HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE. The security deposit of $____, highlighted in this lease, can be found at the following location:

BANK:_____
ACCOUNT #:_____

Download: Massachusetts Security Deposit Holdings Disclosure Form (PDF)

Move-In Checklist

Applicable to all rental units in Massachusetts that charge a security deposit.

Massachusetts landlords that intend to charge a security deposit are required to provide an inventory of the rental unit’s condition. This checklist does not necessarily have to be attached to the rental agreement, but it does need to be provided to the tenant within 10 days of the move-in date. The checklist should include any present damage or specific furnishings that are included (such as appliances or furniture) that must be returned in the same state they were upon move-in. Additionally, the checklist is required to have the following notice in legible writing at the top of the document in 12-point, bold-faced text:

This is a statement of the condition of the premises you have leased or rented. You should read it carefully in order to see if it is correct. If it is correct you must sign it. This will show that you agree that the list is correct and complete. If it is not correct, you must attach a separate signed list of any damage which you believe exists in the premises. This statement must be returned to the lessor or his agent within fifteen days after you receive this list or within fifteen days after you move in, whichever is later. If you do not return this list, within the specified time period, a court may later view your failure to return the list as your agreement that the list is complete and correct in any suit which you may bring to recover the security deposit.

Download: Massachusetts Move-In Checklist Disclosure Form (PDF)

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.

It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Massachusetts to:

  • Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
  • Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
  • Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
  • Distribute a Letter of Interim Control or Letter of Compliance which is issued by the local board of health, if applicable.
  • The landlord must supply the tenant with a copy of the Tenant Lead Law Notification. The landlord must also keep a signed copy for their records.

Download: Massachusetts Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form (PDF)

Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)

The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Massachusetts law in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.

  • Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. Massachusetts law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke to not interfere with other tenants.
  • Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. Massachusetts does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 10% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment. Late fees may also only be charged after 30 days of delinquency.
  • Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
  • Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to provide information on the protocol for handling a bed bug infestation. This addendum will notify the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention by promptly reporting any sign of infestation to the landlord.
  • Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units built prior to 1981, asbestos was a common building material. This disclosure will notify the tenant to take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers (i.e. no sanding, pounding, modifications or repairs, without the landlord’s consent). The disclosure will also notify the tenant of their obligation to immediately notify the landlord if any ceilings begin to deteriorate.
  • Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the lease to protect against future liability of mold damages due to the tenant’s negligence during the lease term.
  • Fire Insurance Information – by the request of the tenant, the landlord shall disclose in writing within 15 days the name of the insurance company of the rental property against loss or damage by fire. The disclosure should also include the amount of insurance that is provided by each company and the name of any individual who would receive the insurance proceeds.

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