Massachusetts Landlord-Tenant Law
Massachusetts ranks number one in education, number seven in the economy, and the number eight state overall, making it a great place to live and invest in rental properties. For our recommendations on exactly where to invest in this state, take a look at our Massachusetts rental investment report – read below for guidance on Massachusetts landlord-tenant law.
Laws that impact the rental market, landlords, and tenants are constantly being decided in states. Make sure you know what’s on your ballot – find Massachusetts voting information here.
Massachusetts Renters' Rights and Landlord Responsibilities
- Have 30 days to return security deposit
- A 30-day notice required before raising rent
- Must give a 24-hour notice before entering
- Required to make repairs within 14 days
When it comes to Massachusetts rental laws, there are a few specifics landlords need to know:
- Security Deposit – Massachusetts limits the amount a landlord may charge for the security deposit to the equivalent of one month’s rent. Landlords must return the deposit within 30 days of the tenant moving out.
- Raising Rent – Landlords in Massachusetts may increase the rent to any amount for any reason with a 30-day notice.
- Notice of Entry – Massachusetts does not require a notice from the landlord before entering the property. However, landlords with property in the commonwealth must give 24-hour notice.
- Repairs – It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep the rental in safe and healthy living conditions. Landlords must make repairs within 14 days after being notified by the tenant. If the landlord fails to make repairs within this time frame, tenants may make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from future rent payments.
- Rental Applications – Landlords must have permission for the state’s Criminal History Systems Board to ask about criminal history on rental applications. When a landlord with standard access requests a report, it may include criminal cases still occurring; convictions for a misdemeanor when the conviction date or incarceration release date is less than 5 years prior to the CORI request date; conviction for a felony when the conviction date or incarceration release date occurred less than 10 years prior to the CORI request date; and/or convictions for murder, manslaughter, or sex offense, no matter how old.
- Landlords must not get any sealed cases, cases with no conviction, misdemeanor convictions more than 5 years old, felony convictions more than 10 years old, juvenile cases if a person is younger than 17 and they were not convicted as an adult, civil cases, or non-incarcerable cases (arrests).
Massachusetts Landlords' Rights and Tenant Responsibilities
- Tenants have 14 days to pay rent after they receive a notice
- Must give a 30-day notice before terminating a lease
- Tenants must keep the unit in a safe and habitable condition
- Landlord must store abandoned property for 60 days
- Overdue Rent – If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord must give them a 14-day notice to pay or quit. If the tenant fails to pay, the landlord may file for eviction.
- Terminating a Lease – If a tenant needs to terminate a month-to-month lease, they must give the landlord a 30-day notice.
- Tenant Responsibilities – Tenants are required to keep the property clean, not disturb neighbors, and make small repairs.
- Abandoned Property – If a tenant moves out and leaves personal property, the landlord must notify them and store the property for a minimum of 60 days. After this period, if the ex-tenant has not claimed it, the landlord may dispose of it how they see fit.
Massachusetts Landlord-Tenant Law FAQ
Below are answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions when it comes to landlord-tenant laws in Massachusetts:
Can You Withhold Rent in Massachusetts?
The only instance where a tenant may withhold rent is if a landlord fails to make requested repairs. Tenants may pay for the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from the following rent payments.
How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Massachusetts?
Evicting a tenant in Massachusetts can take anywhere from one to three months, depending on the reason for eviction.
Is Massachusetts a Landlord-Friendly State?
Massachusetts commonwealth is not very landlord-friendly because of the restrictions on fees and entry. However, Massachusetts does not have the same policies, so it comes down to what part of the state you are in.
What is the Eviction Process in Massachusetts?
There are four reasons a landlord may file for eviction in Massachusetts. The four reasons include failure to pay rent, violation of the lease agreement, the end of the lease term, and illegal activity. Depending on the violation, the landlord must give the tenant notice and anywhere from 7 to 30 days to cure their violation.
If the tenant fails to cure or quit, then the landlord may file a complaint with the court, which costs $120 – $180. After the complaint is filed, it will be served to the tenant 7 to 30 days before the hearing.
After the tenant is served with the summons, the hearing will be scheduled within 10 to 16 days.
If the court rules in favor of the landlord, then a writ of execution will be issued ten days later. The tenant will have 48 hours to a few days to move out.
How Much Notice Does a Landlord Have to Give a Tenant to Move Out in Massachusetts?
Landlords must give a 14-day notice before asking a tenant to vacate the property.
Due Diligence and Massachusetts Rental Laws
TurboTenant has utilized many municipal sources along with official state statutes in order to compile this information to the best of our ability. However, local laws are always in flux, and landlords and tenants alike should do their due diligence and consult legal help when it’s needed. We hope the following list can serve as a valuable resource and allow you to succeed as a landlord or tenant in Massachusetts. Be sure to take proper precautions when it comes to finding the top candidates for your unit by utilizing our online rental application and tenant screening services.
Disclaimer: TurboTenant, Inc does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state, and federal laws, and consult legal counsel should questions arise.
Massachusetts Landlord-Tenant Law Resources
Massachusetts Fair Housing Resources
Other State Resources
- Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
- Massachusetts Law about Landlord and Tenant
- Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
- Good Neighbors Handbook – A Guide for Boston Landlords and Tenants
- Attorney General’s Guide to Landlord/Tenant Rights
Federal Fair Housing Resources
Join the 500,000+ independent landlords who rely on TurboTenant to create welcoming rental experiences.
No tricks or trials to worry about. So what’s the harm? Try it today!