Are you planning to rent a property in Massachusetts? If so, you will probably need a lease agreement.
Before even starting the lease agreement drafting process, the tenant will usually submit an application form to the landlord with information about their financial status and references. After making sure the prospective tenant is suitable, the landlord will start to draft the lease agreement.
The landlord and the tenant are free to include any clause in their lease agreement that is not prohibited by federal or state law. Most of the lease agreements include information about the contractual parties, details about the property, and the rights and duties of the landlord and the tenant.
But how do you make this important document?
If you want to find out, you’ve come to the right place! By the end of this article, you will know everything about drafting your Massachusetts lease agreement.
So, let’s dive right in!
Massachusetts Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
If you are participating in a rental property transaction within the state of Massachusetts, it is required to include these disclosures in your lease agreement in order to remain compliant with federal and state laws and regulations:
Lead-based paint disclosure. The landlord must notify the tenant of any lead-based paint hazards at the leased property. (Section 1018 of Title X)
Fire insurance disclosure. If requested by the tenant, the landlord must provide all the details about the fire insurance terms and conditions for the leased property within 15 days from the moment of such a request. (§ 186-21)
Security deposit receipt. When receiving the security deposit or 10 days after the lease starts, whichever is later, the landlord must give the tenant the receipt containing the following:
Name of the person receiving the deposit
Amount of the deposit
Date when the deposit is received
Description of the leased property
Signature of the person that received the deposit
Security deposit statement. Within 30 days of receiving the security deposit, the landlord must issue a statement that informs the tenant of the name of the financial institution where the security deposit is stored, the security deposit amount, and the account number. (§ 186-15B)
Move-in inventory checklist. The landlord must provide an inventory checklist within 10 days of receiving the security deposit or after the lease has started. The tenant will then insert all the needed repairs and return the list within 15 days. (§ 186-15B)
Keep in mind that the move-in inventory checklist must include the statement below:
“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 landlord 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.”
Massachusetts Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
In practice, many contractual parties choose to include a few additional disclosures besides the ones required by the federal and state laws:
Mold disclosure. The lease agreement should include information about the mold status at the leased property. That way, all the potential disputes about the damages caused by the mold will be prevented.
Smoking disclosure. This disclosure should outline the smoking policy at the leased property. It can allow or prohibit smoking or provide information about the designated smoking areas at the leased property.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
The landlord can face a civil lawsuit for failing to notify the tenant of the hazards present at the property and be ordered to compensate the tenant for any damages caused.
According to federal law, if the landlord fails to inform the tenant about the lead-based paint hazard at the property, they can be fined up to $19,507 (24 CFR § 30.65).
Massachusetts Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
The landlord cannot ask for a deposit that is higher than one month’s rent. (§ 186-15B)
Security Deposit Return
After the lease term is over, the landlord must return the deposit to the tenant within 30 days. (§ 186-15B)
For any damages caused during the tenancy, the landlord can deduct the cost of repairs from the security deposit and send an itemized list of deductions to the tenant.
When is Rent Due in Massachusetts? (Grace Period)
The due date is provided by the landlord and the tenant in the lease agreement.
The state of Massachusetts provides a grace period of 30 days after the rent payment due date. Therefore, any late fees or eviction procedures cannot be imposed until the 31st day after the due date. (§ 186-15B)
Even after the 30-day grace period, the landlord must issue a 14-day notice to the tenant to pay or quit before starting the eviction process.
Massachusetts Rent Late Fees
There are no provisions in the Massachusetts statutes that limit the amount of the late fee. Therefore, the landlord may charge any amount they deem reasonable. For that reason, it is advised that the landlord and the tenant determine a reasonable late fee and insert it in the lease agreement.
Massachusetts NSF Checks
If the tenant used a bad check for the rent payment, the landlord is entitled to compensation that includes the check value and up to $30 in additional fees.
Massachusetts Landlord’s Right to Enter
The state of Massachusetts requires the landlord to provide a reasonable notice only if they are entering the property to make necessary repairs. However, it is advised that the landlord give the tenant at least a 24-hour notice before visiting the property for any reason.
Massachusetts Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the lease agreement is a legally binding document in Massachusetts.
As long as the parties have agreed upon the lease terms, either by signing the written lease agreement or by making a verbal agreement, the lease agreement will be legally binding for both of them.
You should insert the following sections when drafting your Massachusetts lease agreement:
Names, addresses, and ID numbers of the parties
Details about the leased property
Lease duration and rules for extending the lease
Rent amount and rent payment due date
Mandatory disclosures provided by federal and state law
Details about the late and non-refundable fees
Information about the security deposit
Rules about the lease agreement termination
Closing terms (date, place, and signature)
You can simply download one of the many lease agreement templates available on our website.
All of our lease agreements are specially drafted to be in accordance with all federal and Massachusetts state laws and regulations.
After completing the lease agreement, you can start the move-in procedure.
Start by inspecting the property and making sure no additional repairs or cleaning have to be done. If everything is in order, sign the move-in form.
After the move-in form is signed, the landlord and the tenant can exchange the keys to the property and the first month’s rent payment.