Boston MA Laws On Rental Deposits

In MA, landlords can require two different types of deposits: a security deposit and last months rent. These deposits must be handled in a very specific manner according to the law. A summary of the Boston MA laws on rental deposits is offered below.

Property Condition Statement

Within 10 days of accepting security deposits for Boston MA apartments, landlords should furnish tenants with a property condition statement that detail any existing issues. Tenants should be granted a fifteen day period to review and note any errors on that document. A corrected list should be provided to both landlord and tenant. This document will be used at the end of the tenancy and will be the basis for withholding a portion of the security deposit.

Holding of Funds

All deposits (both security and rent) must be placed in a MA bank account that receives interest. They must also be shielded from creditors of the landlord in an escrow or equivalent type account. Many financial institutions offer accounts for this specific purpose. The account may include the social security number of the tenant (for tax purposes). Landlords must issue a receipt and give information on the institution where the funds are held.

Interest and Returning Funds

At the end of each year, interest must be disbursed to the tenant. This can be done by writing a check from the landlord or as a reduction in rent for a specific month. At the end of the rental, landlords must return security deposits within 30 days. The landlord may deduct funds for repairs (not counting normal wear and tear) to the rental unit or any unpaid rent. This should be itemized in a list and provided to the tenant. For damages, a list of specific damages should be included in addition to repair estimates.

Boston MA Laws On Rental Deposits

The above details are only an overview of Boston MA laws on rental deposits. Particular scenarios will differ and it might be necessary to seek legal advice. Be sure to contact a lawyer that understands MA laws. Additional information may also be found on the MA website at http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer/housing/tenant-and-landlord.

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