If you’ve ever rented a home or apartment, you are probably familiar with the woes of a difficult landlord or tenant. Before beginning the search for a new apartment or renters, make sure you understand Massachusetts landlord and tenant law to ensure a favorable outcome.
Tenancy and Rental Agreements
The terms of tenancy partly determines the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant(s). There are two main types of tenancy:
- Tenancy based on a lease – A lease is a written agreement that the tenancy will last for a certain amount of time, usually one year. During the time covered by the lease, monthly rent must stay the same and the landlord cannot end the tenancy early.
- Tenancy-at-will – This is anagreement that lasts as long as both parties agree to it. Sometimes there is no written agreement, but 30 days written notice, or one full rental period, must be provided prior to moving out.
According to Massachusetts state law, a landlord must include the following in a rental agreement:
- The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the owners and persons who are responsible for the care, maintenance, and repair of the property;
- The name, address, and telephone number of the person authorized to receive notices of violations of law and to accept notice of a lawsuit on behalf of the owner; and,
- The amount of the security deposit and disclosure of the rights under the Security Deposit Law.
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
Before agreeing to a tenancy or signing a lease, a tenant should know their rights and responsibilities:
- Do not put any money down until you are absolutely certain you want the apartment.
- When determining which apartments you can afford, be sure to calculate the anticipated costs of utilities.
- Know what is expected of you in terms of pre-payments or a finder’s fee.
- Check the apartment for repairs and ensure that it is in acceptable condition.
- Talk with neighbors about the competency and reputation of the landlord and/or management company.
- Contact the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) if you have been the victim of housing discrimination.
- Massachusetts Housing Consumer Education Centers offer answers to a wide range of questions regarding housing problems that tenants and landlords may face.
- For legal assistance, contact the Massachusetts Legal Referral Program.
Finding the right apartment or tenant in Massachusetts is not always easy. Take the time to understand your rights as a tenant or landlord to ensure a stable business or living situation!
What are your tips while apartment or house hunting? Share them in the comments below, or tweet us @MassGov.
Tags: apartment, apartments, Boston, condo, house, housing, Landlord, landlord law, leasing, Massachusetts, Rent, rental agreements, renting, snow removal landlord, tenancy, tenant and landlord law, tenant law, tenant rights, townhouse
Adopting in Massachusetts: How to Apply posted on Apr 28
Whether you have struggled to have a child or always planned to adopt, choosing to adopt is an incredible gift for your family and a child in need. Many of the children waiting to be adopted in Massachusetts have experienced loss and hardship, and just …Continue Reading Adopting in Massachusetts: How to Apply
National Teacher Appreciation Day: Become a K–12 Teacher in Massachusetts posted on Apr 26
May 3 is National Teacher Appreciation Day, in honor of teachers across the country who work so hard to educate and inspire our children. It’s also the day that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) will announce the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year …Continue Reading National Teacher Appreciation Day: Become a K–12 Teacher in Massachusetts
Submit Your Photos for the 2017 Massachusetts Agricultural Calendar posted on Apr 21
This is a guest blog post from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). If you are a recreational photographer who enjoys capturing images of agriculture — whether it’s farm scenes, animals, or delicious produce — join MassGrown and Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom (MAC) …Continue Reading Submit Your Photos for the 2017 Massachusetts Agricultural Calendar