Massachusetts Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: July 13, 2022 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 below disclosures are 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
Security Deposit Receipt All Units Charging a Security Deposit
Move-In Checklist All Rental Units Charging a Security Deposit
Fire Insurance Information Upon the Written Request of a Tenant
Lead Paint All Units Built Prior to 1978
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Landlord’s Name & Address

Applicable to all rental units in Massachusetts.

Creates a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord. Landlords or any authorized individual to act on behalf of the property should provide contact information (including their address) within or alongside the lease.

Security Deposit Holdings Disclosure

Applicable to all rental units holding a security deposit in Massachusetts.

If a Massachusetts landlord charges and holds a security deposit, they must disclose the holding information within 30 days. The disclosure should state the amount 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:

ACCOUNT #:_____

DownloadMassachusetts Security Deposit Holdings Disclosure Form (PDF)

Security Deposit Receipt

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

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. (186 MGL Sec. 15B(2)) The receipt should include:

  • The amount of the security deposit.
  • The name of the person who has received the deposit.
  • A description of the dwelling unit that is being rented.
  • The date that the security deposit was received.
  • The signatures of the person who received the deposit.

Download: Massachusetts Security Deposit Receipt (PDF)

Move-In Checklist

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

Massachusetts landlords that intend to charge a security deposit are required to provide an inventory of the rental unit’s condition. This checklist must be provided to the tenant within 10 days of the move-in date and should include any pre-existing damage or specific furnishings.

The checklist is required to have the below 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)

Fire Insurance Information

Applicable to any tenant who requests fire insurance information in Massachusetts.

If a tenant requests in writing that they want fire insurance information, the landlord must comply within 15 days of the request. The landlord must provide the name of the insurance company that insures the rental property against damage or loss by fire and the amount of insurance and the name of the individual who would receive payment for the loss covered by the insurance company.

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 below lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Massachusetts law. These disclosures can be helpful to include to help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.

Optional Disclosure How the Disclosure is Helpful
Asbestos. This disclosure informs tenants if there is asbestos at the property. If there is asbestos a tenant can take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.
Bed Bugs. If the rental unit has a history of infestation, landlords should provide information on how to handle a bed bug infestation. This disclosure notifies the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention and immediately report any sign of infestation to the landlord.
Late/Returned Check Fees. Landlords should disclose if they will charge a late fee or a returned check fee in the lease agreement. In Massachusetts there are no limits on late fees and landlords must wait 30 days to charge the fee. The maximum amount that can be charged for a returned check fee is $25.
Medical Marijuana Use. Inform tenants if medical marijuana use on the property is permittable. Some state laws allow landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.
Mold Disclosure. Informing the tenant of the current mold status of a property protects the landlord against future liability of mold damages.
Non-Refundable Fees. A non-refundable charge must be written in the lease agreement. If a non-refundable charge is not written in the lease, the tenant may be subject to a refund upon termination of the lease.
Shared Utilities Arrangements. For rental units with shared utilities, a landlord should disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated. Providing this information to tenants will give them a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
Smoking. Inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.

Consequences of Not Including Mandatory Disclosures

Disclosures outline the important health, safety, and property information and vary by state. If a landlord does not provide the tenant with the federally or state-mandated disclosures, they could face legal repercussions or monetary penalties.

In Massachusetts, if a landlord violates the disclosure of fire insurance, they can be fined up to $500. (186 MGL § 21)

If a landlord fails to disclose the lead-based paint hazard disclosure, they can face fines of up to $18,364 per violation. (24 CFR § 30.65)

It’s best to check with your local and state laws on which disclosures you must provide to your tenant.