Massachusetts Lease Agreements | Residential & Commercial

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A Massachusetts lease agreement is a written contract for the renting of real estate between a landlord and a tenant. The contract becomes legally binding after it is signed with the role of the tenant to occupy and make payment to the landlord every month. The landlord will typically require a credit check and verify the tenant’s income to make sure the tenant is able to afford the monthly rent amount.

Rental Application – Verification form to be used by a real estate agent when screening any potential tenant for the premises.

Table of Contents

Agreement Types (9)


Association of Realtors Residential Lease Agreement – For all rental arrangements with a fixed beginning and end date.

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Commercial Lease Agreement – For businesses located in an office, retail or industrial space.

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Greater Boston Residential Lease Agreement – Specifically for any type of unit located in the Greater Boston area.

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Lease with Option to Purchase (Lease to Own) Agreement – Standard contract with the option to buy the premises.

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Month-to-Month Rental Agreement – A residential contract with no end date and may be terminated at any time within thirty (30) days’ notice per Chapter 186, Section 12.

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Room Rental (Roommate) Agreement – For the shared living situation of roommates within a single unit. The City of Boston allows for a maximum of four (4) individuals to occupy a single housing unit.

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Standard Residential Lease Agreement – Fixed term rental arrangement. For any residential housing such as an apartment, condominium, house, or any other type.

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Sublease Agreement – For a tenant to seek another individual to occupy the space they have under lease for a portion or the remainder of the term.

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Termination Lease Letter (Chapter 186, Section 12) – To end a month-to-month arrangement either the landlord or tenant must give the other thirty (30) days’ notice.

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Disclosures

Fire Insurance (Chapter 186, Section 21) – The landlord must disclose the terms and conditions of the fire insurance on the property within fifteen (15) days of commencement.

Inventory Checklist (Chapter 186, Section 15B(2)(b)) – Within ten (10) days of either receiving the security deposit or the date of commencement, whichever is later, the landlord must issue a checklist that allows the tenant to write down any and all repairs needed or defects on the premises. The tenant will have fifteen (15) days to return the inventory checklist to the landlord.

This statement is required on the inventory checklist:

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.

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure – A federal law that requires all landlords to disclose to their tenants, only if the residence was constructed prior to 1978, that the existence of lead paint may be in the property.

Security Deposit Receipt (Chapter 186, Section 15B(2)(c)) – When the landlord accepts a security deposit from the tenant, a receipt must be issued upon receipt of such security deposit, or within ten days after commencement of the tenancy, whichever is later, containing the following:

  • Amount of the security deposit;
  • Name of the person receiving it;
  • Date received;
  • Description of the premises being leased; and
  • Signed by the person accepting the security deposit.

Follow-up Deposit Statement (Chapter 186, Section 15B(3)(a)) – Within 30 days of receiving the security deposit, the landlord must issue a separate statement to the tenant containing the following:

  • Bank name and location;
  • Amount of deposit; and
  • the account number of where it is deposited.

Depositing the Security Deposit

A landlord in Massachusetts can be penalized up to 3 times the amount of the security deposit along with a 5% penalty, plus the payment of the tenant’s attorney fees if the landlord does not follow the security deposit procedures at the start of the lease.

Procedures

The security deposit must be deposited within 30 days to an interest-bearing bank account in accordance with the following:

  • Located in Massachusetts;
  • Must earn interest either at a rate of 5% or less (whatever the bank is paying);
  • In the name of the tenant which includes their social security number (SSN) with the landlord as a signatory; and
  • Cannot be in a credit union (must be a bank).

If the tenant stays on the property for more than one (1) year, the landlord must furnish to the tenant:

  • Accrued interest on the deposit. This payment can be either paid in check, cash, or deducted from the rent.
  • An annual statement (Chapter 186, Section 15B(2)(a))
    including:

    • Name and location of the bank;
    • Amount of the deposit;
    • Account number; and
    • The interest earned for the year.

Access

The landlord is only required, under the Sanitary Code (410.810), to grant reasonable notice before entering the property for any repair reason. Any other reason for entering the premises is not required, although recommended, to give notice to the tenant.

Security Deposits

Maximum (Chapter 186, Section 15B) – The landlord may only ask for one (1) month’s rent.

Returning (Chapter 186, Section 15B) – The landlord must give back the deposit within thirty (30) days after the tenant has vacated the property. The deposit must include accrued interest at a minimum of five percent (5%) or at the rate the bank gives in the State of Massachusetts.

Laws

(Video) What are the Massachusetts Rental Laws?