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Massachusetts Security Deposit Law

Author: Kasee Godwin
Date: 11.10.2023

Massachusetts Security Deposit Law: A Guide for Landlords and Tenants

Navigating the rental landscape in Massachusetts involves a crucial understanding of the state’s security deposit law. Both landlords and tenants benefit from knowing these regulations, ensuring a fair and transparent rental process. 

This article breaks down the critical aspects of the Massachusetts security deposit law, arming landlords and tenants with essential knowledge for a confident rental experience.

What is a Security Deposit in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, a security deposit is a sum a tenant pays a landlord before moving into a rental property. This deposit is financial security for landlords against property damage or unpaid rent. Massachusetts law outlines specific guidelines for these deposits’ amount, storage, and return.

Maximum Security Deposit Limit

Massachusetts security deposit law stipulates a maximum limit for these deposits. Landlords can only charge up to one month’s rent as a security deposit. Charging beyond this limit could lead to legal repercussions, safeguarding tenants from excessive upfront costs.

Storing the Security Deposit

Landlords must deposit the security deposits in a bank, separate from their property operating funds. This requirement ensures transparency and safety of the funds. Additionally, the deposit must accrue interest at the rate of a savings account in the bank where it is held.

Interest on Security Deposits

The law requires landlords to pay tenants the interest earned on their security deposits annually, minus a small administrative fee. This interest accrual begins from the time the deposit is received.

Deductions and Damages

Landlords have the right to deduct costs for any damage beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or breach of lease terms from the security deposit. However, they must provide detailed documentation and justification for any deductions.

Returning the Deposit

After the lease ends, landlords have 30 days to return the security deposit or provide a detailed list of deductions. Failure to comply can result in the tenant receiving up to three times the amount withheld, plus legal fees.

Walk-Through Inspections

Tenants in Massachusetts have the right to a walk-through inspection before the lease ends. This enables them to identify and address potential issues that could lead to deductions from their security deposit.

Disputes Over Security Deposits

In case of a dispute over security deposit deductions, tenants can seek resolution through the Massachusetts Consumer Protection office or small claims court. Legal advice can also be beneficial in such situations.

The Importance of Understanding Massachusetts Security Deposit Law

For a harmonious rental experience, landlords and tenants must adhere to these laws. Tenants can protect their rights and ensure the return of their full deposit, while landlords can avoid legal pitfalls by staying informed and compliant.

Disclaimer

Qira aims to keep this information as up-to-date as possible. The content provided here is informational and should be different from legal counsel. Please refer to the relevant government sources to check for any changes or updates to the law.

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Kasee Godwin

Position: Director of Marketing
Social Networks

Kasee is the Director of Marketing for Qira. She has nearly 15 years of experience in the real estate marketing industry, including 10 years on the client side. In her spare time, she enjoys reading science fiction, exploring new wineries, and fostering Golden Retrievers.

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