Every rental agreement must have certain terms, and is prohibited by law from containing certain other terms. M.G.L. c. 186, § 15A-F, §16.

The lease must set forth the name, address, and phone number of the owner, the person responsible for maintenance, and the person to whom the tenant can give copies of formal notices, complaints, or court papers.

If the landlord receives a security deposit, the lease or rental agreement must show the amount paid, and must explain the tenant’s rights to that security deposit money. M.G.L. c. 186, § 15B.

The landlord must make sure that the tenant is given a legible copy of the lease or rental agreement. M.G.L. c. 186, § 15D. The lease must not include illegal terms such as:

  • The tenant must pay for the cost of repairing ordinary wear and tear to the apartment.
  • The tenant must pay for repairs to parts of the building beyond the tenant’s apartment.
  • The tenant may not sue the landlord or report violations of the Sanitary Code.
  • The tenant may not join a tenants’ union.
  • The tenant must pay a late fee if a rent payment is even one day late. (A lease or rental agreement may permit the landlord to charge a late fee if a rent payment is 30 or more days late.)