Massachusetts Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: November 21, 2023 by Roberto Valenzuela

A Massachusetts residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a legal contract between a landlord overseeing a residential property and a tenant who wishes to rent it. A residential lease may, on or before move-in, additionally require a security deposit from the tenant as assurance against future property damage.

Massachusetts Lease Agreement Disclosures

These disclosures are required for some or all residential lease agreements in Massachusetts:

Disclosure Applicable To
Landlord Name and Address All Units
Security Deposit Holdings All Leases Holding a Security Deposit
Security Deposit Receipt All Leases Collecting a Security Deposit
Move-In Checklist All Leases Collecting a Security Deposit
Fire Insurance Information Written Tenant Information Requests
Lead Paint All Units Built Before 1978

Landlord’s Name and Address

Applicable to all Massachusetts rentals.

Massachusetts leases must contain the name and address of the landlord or authorized agent. This enables smooth communication of any important legal notice. This contact information is most often written in the lease agreement, for maximum convenience. The landlord has an obligation to notify the tenant in the event of a change in contact information.

Security Deposit Holdings Disclosure

Applicable to all Massachusetts rentals holding a security deposit.

Massachusetts 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.

This is an example of a security deposit holdings disclosure:

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 Massachusetts rentals which collect a security deposit.

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).

A security deposit receipt must include the following information:

  • Amount of deposit
  • Name of the person receiving the deposit
  • Description of the rental unit
  • Date the deposit was received
  • Signature(s) of the person(s) who received the deposit

Download: Massachusetts Security Deposit Receipt (PDF)

Move-In Checklist

Applicable to all Massachusetts rentals which collect a security deposit.

Massachusetts landlords collecting a security deposit must inventory the rental unit’s condition with a move-in checklist, within 10 days of move-in. The inventory must include any existing damage, and any furnishings that must be returned without damage at the end of the lease term.

The checklist must include 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)

Fire Insurance Information

Applicable to any Massachusetts tenant who requests fire insurance information.

Massachusetts landlords must within 15 days provide fire insurance information to any tenant who submits a written request. The information must include all of the following:

  • Name of the company insuring the rental property against fire
  • Amount of insurance
  • Name of individual to receive payment in the event of a covered loss

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

Applicable to any Massachusetts rentals built before 1978.

For any property built before 1978, federal law requires that a Massachusetts residential lease must contain a lead-based paint disclosure. This requires landlords to do the following:

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

Optional Disclosures and Addenda (Recommended)

The following lease agreement disclosures and addenda are not required by Massachusetts law in residential lease agreements, but assist with tenant management and help limit landlord liability.

Optional Disclosure Purpose
Asbestos Informs tenants about any asbestos hazards related to the property. Tenants can take precautions to reduce asbestos hazards by avoiding any disturbance of asbestos fibers.
Bed Bugs Informs tenants whether the property or an adjacent unit has a history of suspected bed bug infestation, and reminds the tenant of the obligation to report suspected infestation immediately.
Late/Returned Check Fees Specifies late fees or returned check fees related to the lease. Massachusetts has no cap late fees (but they may only be charged after 30 days). Returned check fees have a $25 cap.
Medical Marijuana Use Informs tenants about policy related to medical marijuana use on the rental property. Some state laws allow landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only, or allow use only in designated smoking areas.
Mold Disclosure Informs tenants about actual or suspected mold contamination on the property, along with any remediation efforts, to help limit landlord liability.
Non-Refundable Fees Charges not agreed by the tenant in the lease may be refundable upon lease termination. For Massachusetts landlords to charge a non-refundable fee, it must be disclosed and agreed as such in the lease.
Shared Utilities Arrangements Discloses how charges are billed to individual tenants, when multiple rental units share a utility meter for the whole building or property. This ensures tenants receive fair charges and understand what uses contribute to their bill.
Smoking Informs tenants of designated smoking areas that do not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of other tenants.
Some Massachusetts cities, like Boston, have more comprehensive rules than the statewide standard. Always check local laws.

Consequences of Not Including Mandatory Disclosures

Mandatory disclosures outline important health, safety, and property information for both landlord and tenant safety. A landlord who fails to provide federally or state-mandated disclosures could face legal consequences or monetary penalties, either from a tenant lawsuit or from state officials. Many lease provisions may be unenforceable without legally required disclosures.

Failure to comply with the federal lead-based paint hazard disclosure risks fines of tens of thousands of dollars per violation.

Failure to comply with fire insurance disclosure requirements can carry up to a $500 fine.