Massachusetts Room Rental Agreement

In Massachusetts, landlords must hold the appropriate licenses to rent a rooming house. A rooming house is basically a dwelling where the landlord sublets rooms to four or more people. If you’re simply renting a room in your home, then you might not have to get licenses.

No credit card required

Massachusetts Room Rental Agreement

However, shared houses with multiple tenants often require the appropriate licensing. Still, licensing is only one aspect of a Massachusetts room rental agreement you must consider. There are also various other legal aspects to include in such a document.

Unlike a roommate agreement solely between roommates, a room rental contract is between the lessor and a lessee. The lessee rents a specific room in a rooming house of the lessor’s home, with specific legal requirements.

House rules will typically be part of your agreement, and there are more restrictions than a standard residential lease. Below, we look at some of the most common legal terms you must include.

Access to the Room

  • When renting a room, it becomes the tenant’s personal space. As such, landlords must provide reasonable notice, generally 24 hours, if they want to enter.
  • Landlords can only request entry into a lessee’s room/space for maintenance, repairs, and inspections.
  • If the lessee stays in a rooming house, the house must comply with the building codes. These codes include every eight (8) lessees having access to at least one (1) bathroom cleaned every 24 hours. Kitchen access isn’t required, but if there’s one, it must satisfy specific conditions.
  • If the tenant stays in the landlord’s house or anything that isn’t a rooming house, there can be more restrictions on what common areas they have access to.

Guest & Pets Policy

  • Tenants have the right to have guests visit them in public housing. A rooming house will be considered public housing, though it might be more of a grey area if it’s the landlord’s home. Regardless, most lessors will allow guests, but with limitations.
  • The guests can’t stay longer than a few days, though typically, the number of days can change between 14 and 45. There might also be specific areas the guests can’t access.
  • Pets are usually not allowed, though it entirely depends on the lessor’s discretion. If pets are allowed, there can be size and breed restrictions. There might also be behavioral guidelines or a pet fee in place.
  • Tenants have a right to service animals that help with a disability and don’t need to pay any pet fee.

Security Deposit Regulations

  • Security deposits can be equal to a maximum of one (1) month’s rent.
  • Within 30 days of receiving the deposit, the lessor must give the tenant a receipt listing where they keep the deposit, its amount, and the interest statement.
  • Security deposits can’t co-mingle with other funds and must be kept in an interest-bearing account. Tenants are entitled to the 5% annual interest if they’ve stayed in the unit for at least one (1) year.
  • Within 30 days of the lease terminating, the landlord must return the security deposit and provide an itemized list of deductions.