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What Is a Massachusetts Month-to-Month Lease Agreement?

A Massachusetts month-to-month lease agreement is a short-term rental agreement between a landlord and tenant. In Massachusetts, it is referred to as a tenancy at will. The tenancy renews at the beginning of each month. Although it is only for 30 days, the parties may find that the month-to-month rental agreement works out well for them and may decide to make it an indefinite arrangement.

The month-to-month lease must comply with Massachusetts landlord-tenant laws. It should also include all of the same provisions found in a fixed-term lease, including:

  • The amount of the monthly rent and when it is due
  • The late fee amount
  • The security deposit amount
  • Rent increases
  • Whether subletting the rental property is allowed
  • Occupancy information
  • The parking policy
  • The pet policy
  • The notice period for lease termination and move out
  • How to deliver a written notice
  • Information on the eviction process

What Laws Apply to Massachusetts Month-to-Month Lease Agreements?

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 186 §§ 1 to 29 and Ch. 186a §§ 1 to 6 are some of the landlord-tenant laws that govern month-to-month leases. There are also sanitation ordinances and local ordinances that affect how monthly residential lease agreements may operate. Security deposits must be held in an interest-bearing account. The account information must be provided to the renter. If the month-to-month tenancy lasts for more than one year, the landlord must pay the interest to the renter or deduct the interest amount from a rent payment. The security deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent. The landlord must provide the tenant with their security deposit and the interest within 30 days of move out, minus nonpayment of rent or damage to the rental property that exceeds normal wear and tear. If the landlord keeps part or all of the security deposit, they must provide the renter with a written statement describing the damages and providing the repair cost.  

Because landlords and property managers must understand state laws, federal laws, and local ordinances before renting real estate, they should seek legal advice.

Terminating a Massachusetts Month-to-Month Lease Agreement

Chapter 186 § 12 states that the notice period for the lease termination for a month-to-month lease agreement is 30 days.

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