Massachusetts property owners can earn a decent living by renting or leasing real estate (residential and commercial holdings). However, to find success as a landlord, it is vital to address and protect your tenants’ rights. Failure to do so often leads to legal issues that can drain your financial accounts quickly.
Learn about the law
As a landlord, learning about the rights of those paying to use your property can go a long way in protecting you from costly legal issues. Knowing a tenant’s rights allows you to avoid violations that could result in civil litigation.
Tenant rights in Massachusetts
By state and federal law, tenants have many rights. Study the examples below to increase your knowledge before you rent out a property:
- You may not discriminate against a prospective tenant for race, religion, disability, etc.
- The security deposits you collect may not exceed one month’s rent.
- You must return security deposits within 30 days after a tenant vacates your property.
- You may only enter rented properties to make inspections or repairs and to show the property to prospective tenants.
- You may, however, enter the property in case of an emergency.
- You must ensure that your residential properties are fit for habitation.
- You may not increase the rent on a property during a lease term.
- If renting on a month-to-month (or other) term, you may raise the rent with at least a 30-day notice to tenants.
- You must provide notice to tenants when terminating a lease or rent agreement.
Following state laws for renting or leasing out real estate can protect you from civil litigation over landlord-tenant matters, in many cases.
Seek a legal opinion
Despite your best efforts, some tenants may still try to draw you into civil litigation. When this happens, an attorney can fill a role of advocacy and protection on your behalf. While it is not always possible to avoid litigation, an attorney can help you explore your legal options.