Massachusetts Landlord-Tenant Laws

Tenant Screening in Massachusetts

If you’re looking for helpful advice and free resources specific to tenant screening, be sure to checkout our Tenant Screening Massachusetts Guide. It is filled with free forms, resources, and helpful links to get you the best tenant for your property.

Regarding Security Deposit

Massachusetts state law restricts landlords from collecting more than one months’ rent for a security deposit.

Massachusetts landlords must keep a tenant’s security deposit separate from other funds in a federally insured financial institution in an interest-bearing account. Any interest must be paid out to the tenant each year and at the end of the tenancy.

Landlords must return a security deposits within 30 days after lease termination.

Massachusetts laws concerning security deposits can be found in MGL Chap. 186, Sec. 15A.

Regarding Upfront Fees

Editor’s Note: Edited 3/28/17
Massachusetts is a state that doesn’t allow any upfront fees including the following:

  • Application Fees
  • No Amenity Fee – Amenity Use Fee – Move-In Fee
  • No Community Fee
  • No Up-Front Pet Fee

Case M.G.L. c186, s. 15B – The law that addresses security deposits and payments. This law prevents any kind of “up-front charge.”

Regarding Tenant Bad Checks

Civil Penalties: The amount of the check, cost of the suit, and any protest fees.

Criminal Penalties: For a misdemeanor, the tenant could get a fine of up to $300 or up to 1 year in jail. For a felony, the tenant could get a fine of up to $600, up to 5 years in jail.

Allowable Fees: $25

Regarding Notice of Termination for Nonpayment

In Massachusetts, a landlord must give a tenant at least 14 days in which to pay rent or vacate. After that, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings according to Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch, 186, §§ 11 to 12.

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