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If you are the new owner of a rental property in Massachusetts, you may feel a little intimidated by the thought of having to draw up a lease agreement. There are state and federal laws that must be followed and mandatory disclosures that must be included in the rental agreement.

These contracts are important for laying the foundation of your relationship with your tenant and work to protect your rights and the rights of your tenant. It also sends a clear message to the tenant about the rules they will have to abide by when leasing your property.

This article will provide you with all the information you need to draw up a lease agreement in Massachusetts.

What Is a Lease?

To ensure that tenants can afford to pay rent, the landlord will conduct a credit check to verify the tenant's employment and income. Prospective tenants will have to fill out a Massachusetts rental application.

Once the landlord accepts the application to lease the residential property, the landlord will have to draw up an agreement that details the rules that apply when leasing the rental property.

A Massachusetts rental agreement is a formal contractual agreement between landlords and tenants for leasing a property in the state. After it has been signed, the agreement is legally binding, and the tenant has a right to occupy the property and make monthly payments to the landlord.

All Massachusetts rental agreements must comply with state laws and include important information.

What to Include

If you're wondering what you'll need to include in your rental agreement, we've drawn up a list to help you comply with state and federal law. Here is some of the vital information you must include in lease agreements:

  • The names and addresses of everyone involved (including tenants, landlords, and property managers)
  • Information about the security deposit - when it is to be paid, the amount, how it will be protected, and when it is to be returned
  • The start and end date of the agreement
  • An outline of the utility bills and how they will be paid
  • Mandatory disclosures
  • The rental price and how and when it is to be paid
  • Information about the eviction process

Types of Leases

The truth is that there isn't one type of agreement. Since conditions, property details, and more can vary, different kinds of agreements are used to include the relevant information. We'll go through some of these briefly to give you an idea of which one you'll need for your rental unit.

1. Standard Agreement

These are simple agreements that include all the essential information that tenants need. Standard contracts are typically used for residential properties.

2. Month-to-month Agreement

These lease agreements are typically used after a lease term has expired and the fixed term lease has not been renewed. They are like standard agreements, except the lease term is shorter.

3. Sublease Agreement

In some cases, landlords may allow tenants to lease their property to other tenants. However, this may only happen if the landlord accepts the terms of the sublease agreement.

4. Massachusetts Commercial Lease Agreement

These agreements are used for leasing commercial space to businesses and detail the terms of the lease.

5. Roommate Agreement

A roommate agreement will apply if the tenant wishes to share the unit with a roommate.

Mandatory Disclosure

The following disclosures are mandatory for residential lease agreements:

1. Information About Fire Insurance Coverage

Tenants can request to see the insurance company name that provides coverage for property damage in the event of a fire.

Any tenant who wants information on the property's fire insurance coverage will have to wait for the landlord to provide the information. The owner is legally obligated to provide this information within 15 days after a request has been made.

2. Lead-based Paint for an Older Residential Property

Federal law states that all houses built before 1978 may have lead-based paint, and tenants must be informed of the potential dangers that this can pose. Here are some of the things to include in your agreement:

  • A record or report of any lead-based paint on the property
  • Attach a disclosure form
  • Information about the dangers of this paint
  • A letter of compliance from the board of health (only if applicable)

3. Move-in Checklist

Landlords in Massachusetts who plan to collect a security deposit must give an account of the condition of the rental property.

A move-in checklist is a description of the state of the property that is rented or leased. Both parties must sign to show that they agree with the accuracy of the list. Tenants must submit a separate signed list of any damages they believe are present in the unit if they believe that the list is not accurate.

Although this move-in checklist is not required to be included in the lease contract, it must be presented to the tenant within 10 days after they have moved in. Any existing damages or furniture that must be returned must be listed in this move-in checklist.

4. Security Deposit Receipt

The maximum amount for security deposits for a property is the equivalent of one month's rent. Moreover, property owners must provide their tenants with proof of payment upon receipt of such security deposit. This receipt must include the following details:

  • The total amount of the deposit
  • Full name and surname of the person who has received it
  • When the transaction occurred
  • A description of the rental unit or property
  • The signature of the person responsible for accepting the deposit

5. Identification of the Property Owner, Property Manager, or Other Authorized Personnel

Landlords, homeowners, anybody authorized to act in the interests of landlords, and the person in charge of upkeep must provide their personal details, including their: 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact number

This information is included in the lease contract so that future legal notifications and requests sent by the tenant can be conveyed appropriately. 

6. Other Optional Disclosures

You can also add the following disclosures to your tenant in the agreement:

  • Shared utility arrangements
  • Drug use on the property
  • Fees for late payments or bounced checks
  • Information about the presence of asbestos on the premises
  • Mold disclosure

Build Your Own Lease

The truth is that every property is different, and every agreement includes different terms and conditions, so it isn't always practical to use a generic form when drawing up an agreement.

Fortunately, DoorLoop has a comprehensive solution to help landlords manage their rental businesses effectively. One of the tools that business owners love is the rental contract creation tool.

Alternatively, you can use eForms to create a basic agreement after answering a few simple questions.

What Is DoorLoop?

DoorLoop is an AI-powered automation software application that offers a long list of valuable tools for growing your rental business.

The rental agreement creation feature allows you to generate detailed, customized rental agreements quickly and easily. Thanks to the autofill feature, you won't have to spend an hour finding and entering the relevant information - DoorLoop does it all for you!

Moreover, you can also track when your tenants pay the month's rent, find potentially lucrative property investments thanks to AI, and so much more.

To see DoorLoop's features at work for yourself, feel free to schedule a demo.

Final Thoughts

You have probably already heard about a residential lease contract if you're a landlord. However, many landlords have trouble drawing up their lease agreement since ensuring that it follows state and federal laws isn't always easy.

Fortunately, you can use our guide and DoorLoop's rental agreement builder to draw up a detailed agreement that will hold you in good stead throughout the lease term.

FAQs

Where can I download a lease contract for free?

If you're hoping to download a free form for your lease agreement, you can find what you're looking for at eForms.com. Here are the links to the PDF and Word versions

Are landlords allowed to enter rental properties?

Yes, they are allowed to enter rental properties, provided that there is a valid reason. To enter the property, the landlord must first inform the renter of the cause for entry and the time and date that he or she will need to enter the property.

Although it is not expressly stated in rental laws, it is advised that the landlord provide at least 24 hours notice before entering.

When must security deposits be returned?

The landlord or owner of the property has 30 days to return the security deposit to the renter after he or she has vacated the property or the specified time period on the agreement has come to an end.

If the tenant causes any damage to the property, each issue must be documented. The written list and the related damage cost must be subtracted from the deposit and returned to the tenant, together with a copy of the damage report.

When Is rent considered late?

A renter is entitled to a grace period of 30 days after the due date of his or her monthly rent payment to avoid late penalties under the legislation. On the 31 day, landlords can charge late fees.

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David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!