The Massachusetts Security Deposit Law is one of the most tenant-friendly statutes in the United States. Many lawyers advise their landlord clients not to take security deposits because staying in compliance with the statute is not easy. Further, a violation of the statute may award tenants three times their deposit plus attorney fees.
Key Issues to Keep In mind:
- The security deposit cannot exceed the amount of the first month’s rent.
- The receipt for the security deposit must include the following information:
- The amount of the deposit and what it is for;
- The name of the person receiving it (if an agent receives, then also the name of the landlord or owner);
- The date on which it was received; and
- A description of the premises.
- Signed by the owner or the owner’s authorized agent.
- A landlord MUST keep the tenant’s security deposit in an interests bearing account.
- Within 30 days of receiving the security deposit the landlord must provide the account number, name and address of the bank holding the funds.
- At either the time of receiving or within ten days after the tenancy begins, give the tenant a “Statement of Condition,” signed by the landlord,
- The landlord must give the tenant an annual statement about the interests earned on said account.
- Within thirty days of the termination of the tenancy, the landlord must either return the deposit in full or, if any monies are being kept by the landlord, a statement must be sent to the tenant, including a complete, itemized list of deductions.
- The landlord must sign this statement under the pains and penalties of perjury.
If the landlord fails to comply with any part of the law, the statute states that a penalty may be imposed, ranging from the return of the security deposit to treble damages and attorney fees. If you are a tenant or a landlord and have questions about the Massachusetts Security deposit law, get in contact today