Massachusetts law about submetering water for tenants

Laws, regulations, and web sources on water submetering law. The submetering law allows landlords to separately bill tenants for water in certain circumstances.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts law

MGL c. 186, § 22 Definitions; submeter installation; testing; water use charges; public housing development exemption

  • MGL c. 186, 22(s) "No charge for water usage may be imposed on the tenant of any dwelling unit in a (Mass.) public housing development…"

Massachusetts regulations

105 CMR 410.000 State Sanitary Code

  • 105 CMR 410.010 Definitions: Water submetering
  • 105 CMR 410.130 (C-E) Potable water/sanitary drainage. "This owner shall allow occupants to have access to any water submeters that affect their dwelling unit."
  • 105 CMR 410.235 (B)(4) Owner’s installation, maintenance and repair responsibilities: Sub-metering devices designed to measure usage of water


Submetering of water and sewer certification form, Mass. Dept. of Public Health (2023).
Available on the Department of Public Health's Housing-Community Sanitation page, which provides a list of forms available.

Web sources

Water rights: Do landlords or tenants pay for water in Massachusetts?Mass. Legal Help.
Landlords can bill tenants directly for water only if all of the following are true:

  • Your tenancy started on or after March 16, 2005
  • You have a written rental agreement
  • Submeters are installed (they must be installed by a licensed plumber)
  • The faucets, showers, and toilets are low-flow
  • Your landlord receives required approval

Water submetering: Costs, benefits and legal compliance, MassLandlords.
Resource for landlords discussing how to implement submetering of water in residential tenancies, and how to stay compliant with the law. The Mass Landlords page also has relevant checklists and resources to help landlords get started.

Print sources

Landlord and tenant law: with forms, 3rd ed., (Mass. Practice v.33), West Group, 2000 with supplement, Section 11:13 Covenant to supply utilities.

Lease drafting in Massachusetts, 5th ed., MCLE loose-leaf, section 13.4.7.

Residential and commercial landlord-tenant practice in Massachusetts, 4th ed., MCLE, 2022, section 1.2.8.

Summary of basic law, 5th ed. (Mass Practice v.14C), Thomson Reuters, 2014 with supplement, Section 12:87 Other changes- utilities.

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Last updated: April 30, 2024

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