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Of all the statutes dealing with rental contracts in the United States, the most tenant-friendly is the Massachusetts Security Deposit Law. If you are unsure if your landlord is mishandling this state-mandated procedure, take a look at our list below which details how the process should be managed.

Landlords are responsible for each of the following steps:

(a) Keep tenant’s security deposit in an interest-bearing escrow account.

(b) Provide tenant with account number, bank name, and address within 30 days of receiving security funds.

(c) Give tenant a Statement of Condition form, signed by the landlord, 10 days after tenancy begins or at the time deposit is received.

(d) Supply tenant an annual statement of interest earned on the deposit account.

(e) Return deposit in full within 30 days of tenancy termination.

— An itemized deduction list, signed by the landlord, must be provided if the landlord withholds any monies.

Asking for your deposit back is within your rights.

(a) Landlord Retaliation is a serious offense; they don’t have the right to punish tenants in any way, including with the threat of eviction.

(b) Pursuant to Massachusetts General Law (MGL) 186 section 18, retaliatory action on the landlord’s part when a tenant is exercising their rights can result in a liability payment from the landlord to the tenant in an amount up to three times the rent.

You can sue your landlord to recover the security deposit after tenancy ends.

According to MGL 186 section 15b(6) — landlords are not allowed to retain a security deposit or counter-sue for damages in the apartment under any of the following circumstances:

(a) Landlord fails to deposit security funds into account as required by subsection (3)

(b) Landlord fails to furnish itemized list of damages to tenant within 30 days after occupancy termination.

(c) The landlord obtains a waiver from tenant or prospective tenant which conflicts with any provision of this section, by including subversive text in contracts.

(d) Landlord fails to transfer security deposit to his successor in interest or is in non-compliance with provisions of subsection (5).

(e) Landlord fails to return security deposit including interest, and minus itemized deductions, to the tenant within 30 days after termination of tenancy.

If your landlord has mishandled your security deposit, please get in touch today.

Arthur Hardy-Doubleday

Author Arthur Hardy-Doubleday

Arthur Hardy-Doubleday practices law in Cambridge and Martha's Vineyard Massachusetts. He works in the areas of Real Estate, Personal Injury, and Consumer Protection Law. When not practicing law, Arthur enjoys sailing, hanging out with friends on the beach, and waking his dog "Ridiculous."

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