Right Against Unlawful Discrimination:
Massachusetts law prohibits discrimination in housing on the
basis of race, religion, national origin, age, ancestry,
military background or service, sex, sexual preference, marital
status, blindness, deafness, or the need of a guide dog, except
in owner-occupied two family dwellings. No landlord can
refuse to rent you an apartment because you receive a rental
subsidy, because the apartment contains lead, or, with some
exceptions, because you have children. See more in
Massachusetts Tenant Rights
Before Agreeing to Tenancy (or Signing a Lease):
Do not put money down
unless you are sure you want the apartment. Although you may
be legally entitled to your money up until the landlord
formally accepts you as a tenant, that money may be
difficult to recover.
anticipated costs of utilities (i.e., heat, electricity)
when determining which apartments you can afford.
Know what is expected
of you in terms of pre-payments or a finderís fee.
Check the apartment to
ensure that it is in acceptable condition. Put all
agreements for repairs in writing.
Evaluate the ease of
the contract and the response record of non-resident
superintendent to "after hours" emergencies.
Talk with prospective
neighbors about the competency and reputation of the
landlord and/or management company.
According to state consumer protection regulations, a landlord
must include the following in a written rental agreement:
The names, addresses
and telephone numbers of the owners and other persons who
are responsible for the care, maintenance and repair of the
The name, address and
telephone number of the person authorized to receive notices
of violations of law and to accept notice of lawsuit on
behalf of the owner;
The amount of the
security deposit and disclosure of rights under the Security
The landlord must give you
an executed copy of this agreement within 30 days of signing.
You and the landlord may agree verbally to the terms of your
However, to get all terms in writing.
PAYING THE RENT
Late Payment Penalty:
A Massachusetts landlord cannot charge interest or a penalty on late rent
until 30 days after the due date. However, the landlord can
begin the eviction process immediately, even if the rent is only
one day overdue. The landlord also cannot use a reverse penalty
clause to encourage you to pay early. For example, it is illegal
for a landlord to reduce the rent by 10% if the rent is paid
within the first five days of the month.
A rental increase may be any amount the landlord wishes to
charge. Rent for a tenant with a lease can be increased only
when the lease term expires. Tenants at will may face a rent
increase any time, as long as notice is received at least one
full rental period, but not less than 30 days, before it becomes