Massachusetts Laws for Landlords.
Your Resource for laws affecting landlords in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Landlord Legislation

Below is a list of laws for landlords in Massachusetts. New resources, bills and articles are updated daily. You can also type in a Bill Number or Keyword in the search bar to find additional details on laws.

MA S921 Promoting housing opportunity and mobility through eviction sealing (HOMES)

MA H3401 Relative to landlords accountability with regard to drug houses

Introduced Session

191st General Court

Summary
For legislation to establish penalties for landlords knowingly providing premises to be used for illegal drug purposes. The Judiciary.
Sponsors
James Murphy
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see H5081
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2019-h3401/

MA S1428 Relative to window guards in residential rental properties

Introduced Session

191st General Court

Summary
For legislation relative to window guards in residential rental properties. Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Sponsors
Mark Montigny
Last Action
Bill reported favorably by committee and referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2019-s1428/

MA S824 Promoting housing opportunity and mobility through eviction sealing (HOMES)

MA S782 Relative to the Melinda Stewart Stabilization Act

Introduced Session

191st General Court

Summary
For legislation relative to the Melinda Stewart Stabilization Act. Housing.
Sponsors
Sonia Chang-Diaz Russell Holmes Denise Provost Nika Elugardo Nick Collins
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see S2528
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2019-s782/

MA H5181 Providing for eviction protections during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency

Introduced Session

191st General Court

Summary
Sections 79, 80, 88 and 103 contained in the engrossed Bill making appropriations for the fiscal year 2021 for the maintenance of the departments, boards, commissions, institutions and certain activities of the commonwealth, for interest, sinking fund and serial bond requirements and for certain permanent improvements (see House, No. 5164), which had been returned by His Excellency the Governor with recommendation of amendment (for message, see Attachment E of House, No. 5190). December 14, 2020.
Last Action
Signed by the Governor, Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2019-h5181/

MA H1463 Relative to rent escrow

Introduced Session

191st General Court

Summary
Relative to the withholding of rents and the establishment of rent escrow accounts by tenants for code violations by landlords. The Judiciary.
Sponsors
Bradley Jones Bradford Hill Elizabeth Poirier Susan Gifford Paul Frost Todd Smola Randy Hunt Steven Howitt Michael Soter Bruce Tarr
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see H5081
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2019-h1463/

MA H4615 Providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency

MA H1557 Maintaining parity in legal services for small property owners

Introduced Session

191st General Court

Summary
For legislation to provide legal services to small business property owners. The Judiciary.
Sponsors
Alan Silvia Paul Schmid David Robertson Josh Cutler David DeCoste Carole Fiola
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see H5081
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2019-h1557/

MA H3924 Enabling local options for tenant protections

Introduced Session

191st General Court

Summary
For legislation to remove the prohibition on rent control and to provide tenant and foreclosure protections. Housing.
Sponsors
Mike Connolly Nika Elugardo Peter Capano Marcos Devers Carlos Gonzalez Jason Lewis Liz Miranda Denise Provost Jon Santiago Maria Robinson Patricia Jehlen Lindsay Sabadosa James Hawkins Christine Barber Christopher Hendricks James Eldridge David LeBoeuf Chynah Tyler Jack Lewis
Last Action
Bill reported favorably by committee and referred to the committee on House Steering, Policy and Scheduling
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2019-h3924/

MA H2116 Enhancing child safety

Introduced Session

191st General Court

Summary
For legislation to require landlords to install window guards in certain windows. Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Sponsors
James O'Day Colleen Garry Carlos Gonzalez James Hawkins Stephan Hay Kay Khan Jose Tosado Timothy Whelan Patrick Kearney
Last Action
Committee reported that the matter be placed in the Orders of the Day for the next sitting for a second reading
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2019-h2116/

MA H912 Relative to landlords accountability with regard to drug houses

Introduced Session

190th General Court

Summary
For legislation to establish penalties for landlords knowingly providing premises to be used for illegal drug purposes. The Judiciary.
Sponsors
James Murphy Patrick O'Connor
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see H4874
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2017-h912/

MA S1334 Relative to window guards in residential rental properties

Introduced Session

190th General Court

Summary
For legislation relative to window guards in residential rental properties. Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Sponsors
Mark Montigny
Last Action
Bill reported favorably by committee and referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2017-s1334/

MA H961 Maintaining parity in legal services for small property owners

Introduced Session

190th General Court

Summary
For legislation to provide legal services to small business property owners. The Judiciary.
Sponsors
Alan Silvia Carole Fiola Paul Schmid Colleen Garry
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see H4874
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2017-h961/

MA S778 Requiring mandatory rent escrow

Introduced Session

190th General Court

Summary
For legislation to require mandatory rent escrow. The Judiciary.
Sponsors
William Brownsberger
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see S2499
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2017-s778/

MA H4142 The Jim Brooks Stabilization Act

Introduced Session

190th General Court

Summary
Relative to the rights and evictions of certain tenants of post-foreclosure rental housing in the city of Boston. The Judiciary. [Local Approval Received.]
Sponsors
Chynah Tyler Russell Holmes Byron Rushing Elizabeth Malia Daniel Hunt Evandro Carvalho Sonia Chang-Diaz Daniel Cullinane Salvatore DiDomenico Linda Forry Denise Provost Michelle DuBois David Rogers Michael Moran Adrian Madaro Carmine Gentile Mike Connolly
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see H4721
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2017-h4142/

MA H45 Adopting the Uniform Assignment of Rents Act

Introduced Session

190th General Court

Summary
So much of the recommendations of the Commission on Uniform State Laws (House, No. 42) as relates to adopting the Uniform Assignment of Rents Act. The Judiciary.
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see H4874
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2017-h45/

MA H2500 Enhancing child safety

Introduced Session

190th General Court

Summary
For legislation to require landlords to install window guards in certain residential units housing children under 10 years of age. Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Sponsors
James O'Day James Cantwell Marjorie Decker Daniel Donahue James Eldridge John Mahoney
Last Action
Read second and ordered to a third reading
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2017-h2500/

MA H683 Relative to rent escrow

Introduced Session

190th General Court

Summary
Relative to the withholding of rents and the establishment of rent escrow accounts by tenants for code violations by landlords. Housing.
Sponsors
Bradley Jones Susan Gifford Paul Frost Todd Smola Fred Barrows Sheila Harrington Steven Howitt Nicholas Boldyga David Muradian Ryan Fattman Joseph McKenna Kevin Kuros
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see H4744
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2017-h683/

MA S719 Requiring landlord notice of unsafe conditions

Introduced Session

189th General Court

Summary
For legislation to require landlord notice of unsafe conditions. Housing.
Sponsors
Bruce Tarr Denise Provost James Eldridge
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see S2383
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2015-s719/

MA S1284 Relative to window guards in residential rental properties

Introduced Session

189th General Court

Summary
For legislation relative to window guards in residential rental properties. Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Sponsors
Mark Montigny
Last Action
Bill reported favorably by committee and referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2015-s1284/

MA H1596 Maintaining parity in legal services for small property owners

Introduced Session

189th General Court

Summary
For legislation to provide legal services to small business property owners. The Judiciary.
Sponsors
Alan Silvia Carole Fiola Paul Schmid Josh Cutler Joseph McGonagle Michael Moore
Last Action
Accompanied a study order, see H4624
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ma-2015-h1596/

Must-Know Massachusets Landlord-Tenant Laws

Law For Landlords

In the U.S., there are nearly 48.5 million rental units. A little over half of these rental units are owned by business entities, while the rest are owned by individual investors.

There are a lot of good reasons to own rental property in, including providing a passive income source as well as the potential for property value appreciation. Many Americans have managed to make rental property ownership their full-time job, while others might keep a few rental properties as a way of making extra income.

If you are considering becoming a landlord, you likely have a lot of questions. What regulations do landlords need to know? What should I know as a landlord in general?

Understanding landlord-tenant laws is essential for protecting yourself legally and financially. Here’s a brief guide for self-managing landlords regarding some of the most important federal and state laws.

The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act is one of the two major federal laws that impact all property managers and landlords across the country. This is a law that prohibits discrimination due to national origin, race, religion, color, disability, sex or familial status. This law applies to:

  • Renting or buying a home
  • Seeking housing assistance
  • Getting a mortgage
  • Engaging in other housing-related activities

This law extends beyond leasing where landlords are concerned. It also applies to advertising, meaning that it is illegal to market your properties to any specific group of people.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a law that requires landlords to do a number of things when running a credit check. These include receiving permission from an applicant to run a credit report, informing the applicant if their credit report was the basis for adverse action or denial, and providing specific information regarding the credit reporting agency they used

Law Paint Law

It is required by landlords under federal law to disclose the presence of lead paint. They are not required to remove lead paint under federal law, but state laws might dictate otherwise. It’s important to learn about your state and municipality laws regarding lead paint in addition to the federal law.

Discrimination Law

Beyond the Federal Fair Housing Act, state and local laws might provide additional protection beyond the federal law. These might extend protections to people based on their sexual orientation, age, marital status, political association and even hairstyle.

Tenant Duties

While your tenant is responsible for some things, you should know what those things are as the landlord. Then, you can include those duties in your lease agreement. If a tenant doesn’t fulfill their duties, you may be able to provide a notice to vacate in law. Your tenants need to comply with local health and building codes to keep themselves and others safe. They also need to dispose of garbage safely and legally, and they need to use the property reasonably. That means living in the property, but unreasonable uses could include conducting business. Tenants are also responsible for keeping the property clean on a daily basis. They also can’t do anything that would disturb their neighbors, especially if you own a duplex or a similar property. A tenant must also ensure their guests also comply with these requirements. And whenever your tenant has any issues, they must notify you so that you can correct the problem.

Security Deposit Limit

Before a tenant moves in, you can charge them a security deposit. Fortunately, doesn’t have any limitations regarding the amount the deposit can be. You can set an amount based on the property’s rent or value. And you can charge a security deposit for short-term or long-term leases. Then, you can hold onto that amount for the duration of the tenant’s stay. While you can use the money from the deposit, it’s smart to keep it in a separate account. When the tenant moves out, you can make sure you have enough money to pay them back. You can outline the terms of the security deposit, such as the amount and when you will return it, in your lease agreement. That way, you and your tenant both understand the terms, and you can use similar language if you ever buy property in another state.

A Legal Lease Document

Each state and some municipalities might have laws regarding the lease contract. Rental contracts must abide by all laws and be legally written. It is necessary to indicate tenant names, monthly rental rates, and leasing periods clearly.

In some jurisdictions, it is required that certain legal disclosures be included in the lease document. Working with a lawyer to produce your rental contract can help ensure that the lease provides all of the required information and doesn’t break any federal, state, or local laws.

Required Disclosures

It is common in many states to require landlords to inform tenants about individual landlord policies, certain state laws, or specific information about the rental. It might be required that this is disclosed within the lease itself or in additional documentation.

It’s important to look into your state’s requirements about disclosures. However, some commonly required disclosures include notice of recent deaths, mold, meth contamination, or other safety or health hazards.

Providing a Safe Environment

One important landlord-tenant law has to do with the habitability of the rental unit. The definition of “safe, habitable condition” might be different between states. For this reason, you must familiarize yourself with the laws for landlords in your location.

Typically, this means that the property cannot have serious deficiencies. It also means that fixtures, appliances, heating, and plumbing need to be in working order. You also cannot rent out a property that is infested with pests or insects.

 Landlords are usually responsible for dealing with infestations even if the outbreak happens after the tenant moves in. However, in many states, this can be avoided by specifying that the renter is responsible for pest control.

Laws About Making Repairs

In the lease agreement, it will be outlined that the tenants are responsible for reporting necessary repairs. It then becomes the landlord’s responsibility to complete the repairs within an appropriate amount of time.

If a landlord doesn’t make a repair in a timely manner in a way that impacts the safety or health of a tenant, a tenant might have the right to withhold rent.

Security Deposits

It is common for landlords to require a security deposit from the tenant. This is in order to cover the costs of any damage the tenant causes or if they fail to pay rent. A landlord must refund the security deposit unless it is needed to cover the cost of fixing property damage or covering default rent payments.

In some states, how the security deposit is kept is dictated by the law. It is also typically required that an itemized list of deductions must be provided to the tenant if the landlord is using some of the deposit for these purposes.

The unused portion of the deposit must be returned and the itemized statement must be provided. If they aren’t, the landlord can face financial and legal repercussions.

Renters Right To Privacy

Most landlord-tenant rules and regulations cover the right to quiet enjoyment of a tenant. This means that it is their right to live on a property undisturbed. The landlord must give proper notice before entering the rental unit, which is usually 24 to 48 hours unless there is an emergency.

Landlords can only enter the rental property for valid reasons and at a reasonable time of day after giving notice.

Landlord-Tenant Laws: Essential For Protecting Yourself Legally and Financially

Without a good understanding of landlord-tenant laws, you can find yourself in a mess of legal and financial trouble. It’s therefore very important to familiarize yourself with the federal, state, and local laws regarding the rights of tenants and the responsibilities of landlords.

Are you looking for more valuable resources to serve as a guide for self-managing landlords? You can find more You can find more resources and guides here.

Reviewing Laws for Landlords

Understanding laws for landlords is essential for keeping your properties up and running. It can also protect you and your finances if you have a problematic tenant or experience other issues. Whether you just bought your first rental property or are looking to expand, you should understand how these laws affect you. That way, you won’t have to worry about losing everything. Do you want to learn more about laws for landlords? Let us know.

Please understand that because of the nature of the topic, this page has been written in a generalized form. Further guidance should be sought on the topic being searched by the landlord.

Massachusetts Landlord Legislation Blog

Governor’s Latest Executive Order

KEY FACTS: Issued:  October 15, 2020
Expires:  November 14, 2020 Caveat:
Late Fee Prohibition Remains in Effect
Through December 31, 2020 KEY ISSUES:
Rent Demands: Extends 30-day rent
demand until November 14th The 30-day
rent demand applies to ALL Landlords
(residential and commercial). Late Fees:
The Order establishes a ban […]

Governor’s Latest Executive Order

KEY FACTS: Issued:  October 15, 2020
Expires:  November 14, 2020 Caveat:
Late Fee Prohibition Remains in Effect
Through December 31, 2020 KEY ISSUES:
Rent Demands: Extends 30-day rent
demand until November 14th The 30-day
rent demand applies to ALL Landlords
(residential and commercial). Late Fees:
The Order establishes a ban […]

Governor’s Latest Executive Order

KEY FACTS: Issued:  October 15, 2020
Expires:  November 14, 2020 Caveat:
Late Fee Prohibition Remains in Effect
Through December 31, 2020 KEY ISSUES:
Rent Demands: Extends 30-day rent
demand until November 14th The 30-day
rent demand applies to ALL Landlords
(residential and commercial). Late Fees:
The Order establishes a ban […]

A Guide to Section 8 for Landlords

Over 10 million Americans are afforded federal rental assistance under a program known as Section 8 housing. This federal rental assistance can be used all over the United States, which means that all US landlords should have a basic understanding of what Section 8 is and how it works. In short, Section 8 housing provides a solution for low-income families and individuals who are in need of housing. But how does Section 8 housing work for landlords? If you’ve poked around online

Read More »

Pros and Cons of Month-to-Month Rental Leases

The real estate market is in a particularly unusual state in 2021 as the overall economy seeks to correct itself during an ongoing pandemic. One of the more surprising results of the past year is that while housing prices are going up, the cost to rent is, in many places, going down or stabilizing. Now is a great time for property owners to analyze the kind of leasing agreements they typically offer. Is month-to-month rental a better solution in the present,

Read More »

A Guide to Squatter Rights- What Landlords Absolutely Need to Know

If you’re a landlord who has recently discovered the presence of unknown tenants living in one of your properties, you’re probably wondering what to do next. Is this trespassing? Can you simply kick them out? The answer is not quite so simple, assuming these unexpected tenants are squatters. We tend to think of squatters in basic, colloquial terms: people who have moved into a property they don’t own or rent and live there without permission. However, you’ve probably also heard

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A Complete Guide to Every Step in the Eviction Process

As a landlord, your hope is to bring on high-quality tenants that abide by the lease and pay rent on time each month. However, you might be surprised at how likely it is that you could find yourself going through the eviction process at some point in your tenure. In the past few years, US eviction data was compiled and revealed just how common evictions actually are. In fact, in 2016 alone, 2.3 million evictions were filed in America. Our goal is

Read More »

The Landlord’s Guide to Rent Collection

There are over 10 million individual landlords in the United States, each with its own methods for rent collection. How a landlord collects rent, what they charge, and how they deal with late payments has to do both with their personal preferences and the laws in their state. Renting is a great way to earn side money or even a full liveable income, but there are many things to consider before you begin looking for tenants. If you have a property you’re interested

Read More »

What to Know Before Creating an LLC for a Rental Property

Interested in joining the more than 11 million real estate investors making money off rental properties? It’s a form of potentially passive income with great appeal, but like any investment, it also comes with potential risks. One way to mitigate risk is by setting up a business that would own the property rather than buying it in your own name. Creating an LLC for a rental property can help manage income, taxes, and liability for your rental business. If you’ve been wondering,

Read More »

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