Mistakes Landlords Make in Renting

17 May

Metro®Boston, Publication Date: May 9, 2012
By Attorney George Warshaw

We’re closing in on the new rental season. Are you aware of these common mistakes that landlords often make in renting apartments?

  • Cleaning Deposits, Pet Deposits and Move-In Fees. A landlord, by law, cannot require a tenant pay at rental more than a first month’s rent, last month’s rent, a security deposit of one month’s rent, and a key and lock deposit. That’s it.

A pet deposit or cleaning deposit is nothing more than a security deposit under an assumed name. Some larger condos require a move-in fee. A landlord cannot legally transfer that cost or any other moving cost to the tenant.

  • Security Deposits. A landlord who takes a security deposit is required to give the tenant a written Statement of the Apartment’s Condition upon receiving the deposit or within ten days of the start of the tenancy.

The failure to timely provide the written Statement will later prevent a landlord from deducting any claimed damage to the apartment from the security deposit.

  • Defective Conditions. Nothing in the law permits a landlord to charge a reduced rent because the apartment is older or in a worn and tired condition. Every apartment at rental must be weathertight, provide adequate heat, be pest free and meet all Sanitary Code standards.

© 2012 George Warshaw.

George Warshaw is a real estate attorney and author. He represents buyers and sellers of homes and condos in Massachusetts, and prepares wills, trusts, and estate plans. George welcomes new clients and questions at metro@warshawlaw.com.

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