MA Laws On Rental Deposits

In Mass., landlords may request two different types of deposits: security deposits and last months rent. These deposits must be handled in a very specific way to comply with the law. An overview of the MA laws on rental deposits is offered below.

Statement of Property Condition

Within ten days of accepting security deposits for MA apartments, landlords should furnish tenants with a property condition statement that detail any pre-existing problems. Tenants should be granted a fifteen day time frame to confirm the information. A final list should be given to both landlord and tenant. This document will be used at the termination of the tenancy and can be the basis for withholding a portion of the security deposit.

What Must Be Done with Deposits

All deposits (both security and rent) must be placed in a Mass. interest bearing account. They must also be shielded from creditors of the landlord in an escrow or equivalent account. Many financial institutions offer accounts for this particular purpose. The account may include the personal information of the tenant (for tax purposes). Landlords must provide tenants with a receipt for deposits and specifics on the institution where the funds are being held.

Annual Interest and Return of Deposits

Every 12 months, interest must be paid out to the tenant. This can be performed by writing a check from the landlord or as a reduction in rent for a given month. Upon the end of the rental relationship, landlords must pay back security deposits within 30 days. The landlord may withhold money for damages (except normal wear and tear) and overdue rent. This should be detailed in a statement to the tenant. For damages, a list of specific damages should be provided along with estimates.

MA Laws On Rental Deposits

The above is only an overview of MA laws on rental deposits. Specific situations can range and it may be important to receive legal advice. In such cases, be sure to call a local attorney that specializes in Mass. laws. Information on landlord tenant laws can also be found on the Mass. website at http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer/housing/tenant-and-landlord.

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About Editor-John P. Wells

I am a resident of Newburyport and have worked in education, high tech and urban development. My interests in architecture and construction are invaluable to my clients. For more information please visit the Wellsco website.