Legal tactics, 8th ed., Annette R. Duke, editor, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, 2018 (includes forms)
Just about the best book written on Massachusetts tenants' rights.
MGL c.186 Landlord-tenant law
- MGL c.186, §§ 23-29 Domestic violence
Gives victims of domestic violence the ability to terminate a rental agreement or get their locks changed.
MGL c. 93, § 114 Psychologically impacted properties
Sellers and brokers do not have to disclose to buyers or tenants the fact that a property is perceived to be tainted by the health of a previous occupant, a murder or suicide, or paranormal phenomena. However, they may not be deceitful in answers to questions about the property.
MGL c. 140 § 22 Lodging house
Lodging House defined as "a house where lodgings are let to four or more persons not within second degree of kindred to the person conducting it."
MGL c. 175 § 99 Clause 15th A
Every policy which insures multi-unit residential property against loss or damage by fire shall provide additional benefits, by endorsement attached to the policy, up to a limit of seven hundred and fifty dollars, without deductible, for each rental unit to cover the actual costs of relocation of any tenant or lawful occupant displaced by fire or by damage resulting from fire.
105 CMR 410 State sanitary code chapter II: minimum standards of fitness for habitation
Details all the key requirements for the property, including kitchens, bathrooms, electricity, ceiling height, and much more
105 CMR 410.400 Minimum square footage per person
Is your apartment big enough? Very detailed requirements for space per person.
940 CMR 3.17 Landlord-tenant [unfair and deceptive acts]
Specifies prohibited acts by landlords in the areas of conditions, notices, rental agreements, security deposits, evictions, and more. Subsection (6)(e) outlines when a landlord may enter the tenant's home.
Selected case law
Karaa v. Yim, 86 Mass. App. Ct. 714 (2014)
Discusses mitigation of damages, stating "who bears the burden at trial regarding the mitigation of damages within the landlord-tenant context is the subject of some uncertainty in Massachusetts." See footnote 10 in the case for an explanation of the uncertainty regarding burden of proof of mitigation of damages, with cites to various sources.
Nutt v. Florio, 75 Mass. App. Ct. 482 (2009)
Liability for bite by tenant's dog. A dog bite victim sued the landlord of the owner of the dog, a pit bull. The court stated that the pit bull is a breed "commonly known to be aggressive." "While the defendants may not be held strictly liable by virtue of Tiny's breed, knowledge of that breed and its propensities may properly be a factor to be considered in determining whether the defendants were negligent under common-law principles."
City of Worcester v. College Hill Properties, LLC, 465 Mass. 134 (2013)
Lodging houses. The Court concluded that MGL c. 140, s. 22 (the lodging house law) "did not apply in circumstances in which four unrelated adults, who were college students, occupied apartments leased from the defendant property owners, where the apartments as occupied were not "lodgings" so as to render the defendants' properties "lodging houses" under the act."
- Don't let the bed bugs bite, Mass. Trial Court Law Libraries.
- Protocols for the prevention and control of bed bugs in multi-unit housing, Dept. of Public Health, 2009.
Explains legal responsibilities of landlords and tenant in dealing with bed bugs
- Roommate limitations in Boston: text amendment no. 346, Boston Zoning Commission, March 13, 2008
Changes the definitions in Articles 2 and 2A of the Boston zoning code, so that 5 or more unrelated undergraduates may not share an apartment.
- Attorney General's guide to landlord-tenant rights, Mass. Attorney General, August 2015. 18-page guide covers terms of a rental agreement, security deposits and other payments, sanitary code requirements, evictions, and discrimination.
- Renting in Boston, City of Boston
Covers leases and agreements, deposits and fees, insurance, conditions, noise, renters' rights, and more.
- The brothel myth. Urban legends reference page: college, Snopes.com
Explains the history of the myth, but suggests that no proof has ever been produced that a law exists anywhere which prohibits more than 4 or 6 unrelated females from living together under a "brothel law." "We routinely hear from students who are convinced their particular university lacks a sorority because of this non-existent law. Their vehemence aside, none have yet produce a copy of the statute they so firmly believe in."
- Every landlord's guide to finding great tenants, Nolo, 2017
Advertising and showing the property, screening tenants and more. Requires library card for access
- Every landlord's legal guide, Nolo, 2018
Provides an overview of common landlord issues including preparing leases, security deposits, evictions and more. Requires library card for access
- Every landlord's tax deduction guide, Nolo, 2018
A plain English tax guide for landlords which includes information on repairs, startup expenses, depreciation and more. Requires library card for access
- Every tenant's legal guide, Nolo, 2018
Includes information on leases, security deposits, discrimination, privacy, eviction and more. Requires library card for access
- First time landlord: your guide to renting out a single-family home , Nolo, 2017
Provides information on getting good tenants, handling taxes, repairs, insurance, property managers and more. Requires library card for access
- How to be a landlord in Massachusetts and avoid legal trouble, A. Joseph Ross, 2017
This extensive document covers everything from screening tenants through eviction, including utilities, lead paint, security deposits, domestic violence, and more.
- How to be a tenant in Massachusetts and avoid getting ripped off, A. Joseph Ross, 2017
A lengthy guide that covers all the key issues for a tenant, including security deposits, utilities, lead paint, landlords entering the apartment, and more.
- Housing code checklist from Legal Tactics: Tenants' Rights in Massachusetts
"In Massachusetts, the state Sanitary Code is the primary source of law that gives tenants a right to decent housing. All rental housing must at least meet the state Sanitary Code."
- Housing providers rights and responsibilities under Federal and Massachusetts state fair housing law, Mass. Housing, Jan. 2011
Explains fair housing / discrimination law to landlords, including: how to market your apartment legally, communication with prospective tenants, dealing with families and children, explanation of disabilities and the rights of the disabled, and more.
- Housing search guide for people with disabilities in Massachusetts, Chapa.org, 2013.
A guide for disabled renters in Massachusetts, providing step-by-step assistance for your search
- Landlord rights and responsibilities, Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation
Includes how to find tenants, security deposits, right of entry, evictions, and more
- A landlord's right to enter, Patch.com, 2013
Explains state law and when a landlord may enter your apartment.
- Leases and rental agreement, Nolo, 2017
Includes information on choosing the right tenant, preparing a lease or agreement, getting a tenant moved in, getting a tenant moved out and more. Requires library card for access
- Moving tips for tenants, A. Joseph Ross, 2017
Precautions to take when moving, "no matter how friendly you may be with your landlord."
- Overview of landlord-tenant laws in Massachusetts, Nolo.com
"Both landlords and tenants should be able to deal with many legal questions and problems without a lawyer, once they understand the basics of state law. This overview of key landlord-tenant laws in Massachusetts will get you started."
- Tenant rights, Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Detailed guide to everything a tenant might want to know, including standards for heat and water, when a landlord may enter, and what to do if things go wrong.
- Renters' rights, Nolo, 2018
Not specific to Massachusetts, includes information on leases and rental agreements, discrimination, roommates, privacy, security deposits and more. Requires library card for access
- Safe and sanitary housing for Massachusetts residents: highlights of chapter II of the state sanitary code, Mass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Citizen Information Service
- The tenant's helper: a handbook for renters, 7th edition, 2013, City of Somerville
This 47-page book covers the usual information, like security deposits and evictions, but also includes information on discrimination, roommates, and tenants' rights after the sale of a building. Great resource.
Landlord and tenant law: with forms (Mass. practice v.33-33A), West Group, with supplement.
Residential and commercial landlord-tenant practice in Massachusetts, MCLE, loose-leaf.
Residential landlord-tenant benchbook, Flashner Institute, 2013.
|Last updated:||July 23, 2019|