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Free Massachusetts Residential Lease Agreement Form

Start a comprehensive and legally binding Massachusetts lease agreement to rent real estate to one or more tenants. Get guidance on each step and expert tips with the help of our contract maker.

Last Update January 21st, 2023


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What is a Massachusetts Residential Lease Agreement

A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and a tenant. This is written to conform to state laws where the property is located. In Massachusetts these allow both parties to comply with a series of set terms for a specified number of months or years.

Rental contracts and lease agreements have a lot of similarities as they both set out payment plans and the terms of use for a house or apartment. However, the big difference is the duration that they cover. Rental agreements usually only cover short-term tenancies of a few months at a time or month-to-month contracts.

A lease agreement should contain the following details:

  • How long the tenant may legally reside in the property

  • How much rent should be paid

  • Information about the security deposits necessary

  • When rental installments are due

  • Any additional costs that must be serviced by the tenant

  • The rules regarding the proper use of the property

  • Situations that constitute lease violation eviction procedures

Types of Massachusetts Lease Agreements

There are many types of MA lease agreement forms that can be used to manage and legally bind many different types of rental situations. They allow landlords to rent out various types of property they might have and for tenants to find the best kind of tenancy for their needs.

The most common types of lease agreements in Massachusetts include:

  • Standard residential lease agreements: Under a standard lease agreement both the landlord and tenant commit to a fixed set of terms that last for a series of months or years.

  • Lease-to-own lease agreements: Lease agreements with lease-to-own options are designed for tenants that wish to buy the property they are renting. This requires them to pay a sum of money each month, in addition to rent, to cover the costs of the principal.  

  • Month-to-month rental agreements: Month-to-month lease agreements will often have similar basic terms to standard residential lease contracts. However, they differ as they can be renewed or ended on a month-by-month basis. Their terms may also be flexibly altered each month. 

  • Commercial lease agreements: Commercial leases are provided by landlords of retail property to tenants that intend to use the real estate to run a business.

  • Room rental agreements: In rental properties with shared living areas a room rental agreement can be used to rent a singular bedroom. 

  • Sublease agreement: A Massachusetts sublease agreement allows tenants to reassign or ‘sublease’ the property to another individual. This requires the property landlord’s permission and must be specifically allowed in the original lease.

  • Room rental agreements: In rental properties with shared living areas a room rental agreement can be used to rent a singular bedroom. 

Massachusetts Lease Addendums and Disclosures

Massachusetts lease agreements must contain a few disclosures and addendums when they are completed and signed. This is to properly inform the tenant of any health risks or potential issues with the property or details about how the property is managed that they must be aware of. 

These essential addendums include the following: 

  • Inventory checklist: The landlord must issue a checklist that enables the tenant to write down any damages or repairs that need to be performed on the property (MGL, Chapter 190B, § 3-706).

  • Lead paint disclosure: If the rental unit is in a building constructed before 1978, the landlord or their agent must disclose whether lead paint can be found on the property and must provide safety information for any located on the premises (MGL, Chapter 190B, § 3-706). 

  • Security deposit holding disclosure: A section must be added advising the tenant on how the security deposit will be collected and stored, as well as informing the resident of key rules that apply in Massachusetts regarding the deposit (MGL, Chapter 186, § 15B).

  • Security deposit receipt: Once the security deposit has been accepted by the landlord or within 10 days of the lease commencing (whichever comes later), a receipt must be issued to the tenant (MGL, Chapter 186, § 15B). 

  • Fire insurance: Tenants must be informed of the terms and conditions of any fire insurance that is on the property (MGL, Chapter 175, § 99).

Massachusetts Lease Agreement Laws

A Massachusetts lease agreement must be written and signed within the laws of Massachusetts state, otherwise, it will be legally contestable and can be declared invalid and block either party from recourse if a violation is committed. These will police how you start and end the contract and control what procedures you can reasonably ask a tenant to follow.

The most important laws to consider when you are renting a property in Massachusetts include:

  • Security deposits: Massachusetts landlords may charge no more than one months’ rent if the property is a non-rent control unit. This must be returned to the tenant within 30 days of vacating the property and returning the keys. Landlords must also give advance notice of any deductions (General Laws Annotated chapter 186, §15B).

  • Landlord’s right to enter: Landlords can enter the rental property by giving a reasonable amount of notice (a written notice is recommended). Reasonable notice is not defined by law in Massachusetts, which means that it’s up to the landlord and tenant to decide this figure. That being said, 24 hours notice is usually considered acceptable. 

For more specific information on Massachusetts lease agreement laws, check the MA government legislature

Massachusetts Residential Lease Agreement Sample

Before beginning the process of creating a residential lease agreement in Massachusetts it is sensible to review an example document first. Use our MA lease agreement sample below to find out more about the structure and contents of a fully-fledged rental contract.

FAQs About Massachusetts Lease Agreement

It is important to carefully prepare a Massachusetts lease agreement to suit the needs of the landlord and tenant exactly. To help demystify the process a little simply review our FAQs below to learn more about the specificities of rental contracts in Massachusetts. 

For additional information, take a look at this guide on landlord and tenant rights within Massachusetts.

How to write an MA lease termination letter?

If either the landlord or tenant for any reason needs to terminate an MA lease agreement early, they must provide the correct amount of notice in a written Massachusetts lease termination letter.

This letter needs to contain the following information:

  • The name of the landlord and the tenant

  • The date the letter has been written and signed

  • The name and address of the property in question

  • Information explaining why the tenancy needs to be terminated early

  • The reason the lease is being broken

  • The date that the resident will vacate the property

  • Acknowledgment of any penalties that will be incurred

  • Signature of the signing party

What are the advantages of a written lease?

It’s important to have a written Massachusetts lease agreement in operation whether you are a landlord or a tenant. There are many advantages to having a formal contract for a rental property such as the right to recourse if the terms are violated and the protection of important legal rights for rental property owners and residents.

Do I need to notarize my Massachusetts residential lease agreement?

It is not necessary to notarize an MA residential lease agreement. However, whilst this might not be a legal requirement in Massachusetts state, signees are still advised to consider this step to provide further legal enforceability.

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