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Questions About Legal Requirements for Landlords in Massachusetts

Landlords must meet several strict legal requirements to rent their properties. The complexity of landlord-tenant law is one of the major reasons why hiring a property management company can be so valuable. Property management companies are always up to date on the current laws governing property rentals, so they can save landlords from making costly mistakes. Here are the answers to some common questions landlords have about renting their residential properties.

What are my requirements for setting a lease term?

In Massachusetts, there are two kinds of tenancy: tenancy based on a lease and tenancy-at-will. With a tenancy based on a lease agreement, the lease specifies a certain period of time in which the tenant will live in the property at the same rent amount. The tenant cannot leave the lease early without making an agreement with the landlord, and the landlord cannot end the lease early unless the tenant violates the lease terms. Tenancy-at-will is an agreement that the tenant can continue to rent a property as long as both parties agree to continue the tenancy. If either party decides to end the tenancy, he or she must notify the other party at least 30 days prior to ending the agreement.

What payments can I request up-front?

Landlords can ask for the first and last month’s rent, a security deposit that cannot exceed the amount of one month’s rent, and the cost for providing a new lock and key for the rental property. No other monies are allowed to be collected at the start of the lease agreement.

What criteria can I use to choose tenants?

You can screen tenants for their ability to pay rent and their past rental history. You cannot screen tenants based on a number of factors, including race, color, creed, national origin, sex, marital status, veteran status, gender orientation, sexual orientation, and whether they receive public assistance. Massachusetts’ discrimination protections exceed federal standards, so be sure to get advice from a property management firm with experience in the state.

MRS Property Management makes it easy for landlords to comply with legal requirements by handling tenant screenings and lease agreements on their behalf. To learn more about our property management company in Beverly, MA, call (978) 578-2793.

Categories: Landlord Tips