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There are rules about rental agreements and things to look for when you are searching for your next place to rent.
Only a licensed real estate broker or salesperson can charge a fee for helping to find you an apartment. The amount, due date, and the purpose of the fee must be disclosed to you prior to any transaction. There in no set amount to the fee, as it is a contractual arrangement between the licensed broker or salesperson and you (M.G.L c. 112, § 87DDD-1/2).
A landlord must include the following in your written rental agreement:
If the landlord uses a lease that contains any provision that conflicts with the Security Deposit Law and attempts to enforce that provision or attempts to obtain from you or a prospective tenant a waiver of any provision of the Security Deposit Law, the landlord cannot keep your security deposit for any reason including making deductions for damages.
The landlord also must give you an executed copy of the rental agreement within 30 days of your signing it (940 CMR 3.17 (3)). You can verbally agree to the terms of your tenancy, but it is best to get all terms in writing.
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