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What Is a Massachusetts Lease Agreement?

A Massachusetts lease agreement is a legal contract between the landlord or the property management company representing the landlord for specific rental property. After it is signed and dated by the parties, the tenant may then move into the rental. A Massachusetts lease agreement can be used for residential or commercial property.

Most Commonly Used Massachusetts Lease Agreement

The most commonly used Massachusetts lease agreements are a standard residential lease agreement, a month-to-month lease agreement, a lease to own agreement, a sublease agreement, and a roommate agreement. All lease agreements must comply with state law.

Although the most commonly used Massachusetts lease agreements rely on many of the same clauses, they still have many of their own features and functions. Yet, they can also be very similar. Here are a couple of examples to highlight this.

  • A roommate agreement is a type of residential lease agreement. It has all of the same clauses found in a standard lease agreement. However, it also explains which area of the rental is for the exclusive use of the roommate and which areas are considered communal and for use of all occupants.
  • A standard residential lease agreement is generally written for a fixed-term of one year. When the lease ends, it may convert to a month-to-month lease. It may automatically renew for another year. However, a standard one-year lease can be similar to a month-to-month lease in some ways. For example, they both may require a 30-day written notice to move out at the end of the term if the landlord or tenant does not plan to renew the agreement.

How to Write a Massachusetts Lease Agreement

Massachusetts lease agreements must adhere to Massachusetts landlord-tenant law. Otherwise, they cannot be enforced by the court. There are many other laws that must be considered as well. You’ll learn more about some of the others in the sections related to disclosures and security deposits.

Because a Massachusetts lease agreement is a contract, you should make sure that you understand the terms. Read it carefully or have it reviewed by an attorney before you sign it.

A Massachusetts lease agreement needs:

  • Names of the Parties - This clause lists the landlord's full name or the property management company's legal business name and the full name of the tenant(s).
  • Property Address - This clause lists the street address of the rental property. It should include the city, zip code, and lot and unit number.
  • Term Information - This clause explains the type of lease agreement the parties agree to enter into. For example, a month-to-month lease or a fixed term. A fixed-term lease means that the parties agree that the tenant will hold possession of the space for a certain amount of time, usually one year. If it is a fixed lease, this section should include the date that the lease will end.
  • Rental Amount - This clause includes the date that the lease begins, the amount of the monthly rent, the day of the month that rent is due, and the address where the rent may be paid.
  • Late Fee - A clause that includes the late fee discusses the fee that is due if the rent is not paid by a certain date.
  • Security Deposit - This clause documents the amount of money that must be paid in advance by the tenant before they can take control of the property. A security deposit is used to repair damages caused by the tenant.
  • Initial Payment - This clause explains the total amount of money that the tenant must pay to move into the rental property. This should include the amount of the first month's rent, the security deposit, and the total of the two numbers added together.
  • Occupants - This clause includes the full name of each tenant even if they are a minor or are not signing the lease. This part of a Massachusetts residential lease agreement establishes who will reside in the residential unit. For commercial space leases, it designates those who have permission to use the space. If the presence of additional occupants changes the price of the rent, it should be included in this section.
  • Utilities - This clause explains which utilities or services a tenant does not pay.
  • Parking - This clause informs the tenant if they will receive a parking space. If a parking space is reserved and there is a designated spot, the spot should be listed in this section.
  • Furnishings - This clause tells tenants what they are allowed to install (such as a washing machine or dishwasher) or what they may not install. If the tenant is not allowed to bring their own appliances, that should be designated in this section.
  • Notices - This clause provides the names of the landlord or the property manager and tenant along with their mailing address. This contact information is used if the parties need to send a notice to the other party for some reason.
  • Eviction - This clause explains how eviction proceedings would be carried out in the event of nonpayment or breach of other lease terms.
  • Additional Terms - This clause includes any other terms that the parties agreed to that haven't been included in any other section of the lease agreement.
  • Signature and Date - The document should be signed and dated by all parties.

Which Disclosures Belong in a Massachusetts Lease Agreement?

There are several disclosures that must be included in a Massachusetts rental lease agreement. These disclosures are required by Massachusetts landlord-tenant law:

  • The terms and conditions of fire insurance that covers the property. This information must be disclosed to the renter within 15 days of their tenancy starting.
  • Within 15 days of the landlord receiving the security deposit or the tenant moving in (whichever is later), the landlord must provide an inventory checklist that gives the tenant space to write down repairs that need to be made or defects on the premises. There’s also a required statement:

"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 lessor 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 bring to recover the security deposit."

  • The landlord must provide the tenant with the name of the bank, the bank location, and the account number for the account where the security deposit is kept. This statement must also include the amount of the security deposit within 30 days.

Finally, the landlord is required under state law to provide reasonable notice before entering the property for repairs. This is defined as at least 24 hours of notice for entry.

Federal law requires that any residence built before 1978 that is being rented must have a lead-based paint disclosure.

What You Need to Know About Massachusetts Lease Agreement Deposits

Under state law, landlords may not ask for more than one month's rent as a security deposit. The security deposit must be returned within 30 days of the tenant leaving the property. Security deposits must also be kept in an account that accrues a minimum of five percent interest or at the rate the bank gives in the State of Massachusetts.

Download a PDF or Word Template

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