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Massachusetts Rental Lease Agreements | Laws

A Massachusetts lease agreement is a document that binds the owner of real estate and their tenant to the rental conditions relayed therein. The most important provisions contained in a lease document are the cost of monthly rent and the lease term. The agreement will also contain all tenant responsibilities and rights as well as provisions surrounding termination, subleasing, and security deposits. All parties mentioned in the lease agreement must sign in order to render it legally binding.

Rental Application – A rental application is used to provide a landlord with a tenant’s employment, personal, and credit history to allow them to ascertain whether or not they would make a good candidate to rent out the property.


Agreements: By Type (7)

Commercial Lease Agreement – A commercial lease agreement is used for renting out non-residential property to business owners.

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College Roommate Agreement – This document can be drafted between roommates boarding together to delineate the duties and rights of those sharing the domicile.

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Lease with Option to Purchase (Lease to Own) – A lease-to-own agreement allows the tenant the opportunity, should they comply with the terms and conditions, to purchase the property before the term ends.

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Month to Month Lease Agreement – Also referred to as an at-will lease, this agreement has no termination date but renews each month with the payment of rent.

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Roommate Agreement – A roommate agreement will breakdown the division of rent between coinhabitants as well as their individual responsibilities while on the lease.

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Standard (1-year) Lease Agreement – The most common lease agreement, the residential one-year lease enables a tenant to rent property for a twelve-month period usually with the option to renew at the end of the term.

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Sublease Agreement – A sublease agreement allows a tenant to sublet their space, in part or in whole, to a sublessor with permission from the landlord.

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Landlord-Tenant Laws


Security Deposit Receipt (c. 186, § 15B(2)(a)) – The tenant has the right to a receipt that contains information regarding the manner in which their security deposit will be used, the financial institution at which it will be deposited, and the individual who will be receiving the funds.

Fire Insurance (c. 186, § 21) – Within fifteen (15) days of the request, the landlord must provide the tenant with the name of the insurance company, the amount of insurance provided, and the name of the individual who would receive payment, among other insurance-related data.

Statement of Condition (c. 186, § 15B(2)(b)) – If a security deposit is delivered to the landlord, they are required to provide a statement of condition that details the state of the apartment prior to moving in.

Landlord’s Access

General Access (MGL c.186 § 15B(1)(a)) – No law dictates the amount of notice required before the landlord can enter the property. However, twenty-four (24) hours is usually customary.

Emergency Access – There is no statute that outlines the standard for emergency access to the property by a landlord.


Grace Period (MGL c.186 § 15B(1)(c)) – A landlord may not charge a fee or interest on unpaid rent until thirty (30) days after the due date.

Maximum Fees ($) – There is no statute that determines a maximum amount that a landlord may charge their tenant as a late fee for unpaid rent.

Rent Increase Notice – The landlord may increase the rent only at the end of the lease. For at-will tenancies, they must give thirty (30) days’ notice.

Security Deposits

Maximum Amount ($) (MGL c.186 § 15B(1)(b)(iii)) – A landlord may only charge up to one (1) month’s rent as a security deposit.

Returning to Tenant (MGL c.186 § 15B(4)) – A landlord is required to return to the tenant the security deposit within thirty (30) days of the lease termination date.

Interest Required? (MGL c.186 § 15B(3)(b)) – A lessor who holds a security deposit for one (1) year or longer will be required to pay out interest at 5% per year to the tenant or whatever lesser percentage has been accrued from the bank account in which the funds were deposited.

Separate Bank Account? (MGL c.186 § 15B(3)(a)) – The security deposit held by the landlord must be kept in a separate bank account that is free from creditors.