Top 10 Things Tenants Need To Know

  • 1. Legal & Illegal Fees

    When you move into an apartment, a landlord can charge you the first month’s rent, last month’s rent, a security deposit, and a lock fee. A landlord may not charge you a broker’s fee unless s/he is a licensed realtor.
  • 2. Noise

    Be considerate of your neighbors. Having loud parties at night or cranking up the music may lead to complaints, and eventually, to eviction.
  • 3. Security Deposit & Last Month's Rent

    Your landlord can legally require you to pay a security deposit and the last month’s rent in amounts equivalent to one month’s rent for each. If your landlord collects them, he/she must, among other things, give proper receipts, pay interest on an annual basis and in the case of the security deposit, put the money in a bank located in Massachusetts.
  • 4. Condition of Apartment

    Before entering into a rental agreement check out the condition of the apartment. If you can’t, have a friend do it for you. You do not want to be charged for damages that existed when you moved in!
  • 5. Code Violations

    You are entitled to an apartment that is in compliance with local and state sanitary and building codes. Violations should be reported to your landlord in writing. If he/she doesn’t make the necessary repairs, call the City’s Inspectional Services Department at 617-635-5300.
  • 6. Registration and Inspections

    Landlords must register their rental units with the city’s Inspectional Services Department and post their contact information in the building.  Rental units, except for those in 1-to-6 unit owner-occupied dwellings and public property, must be inspected at least once every five years to ensure that they are in compliance with the State Sanitary Code.

  • 7. Renter's Insurance

    You have probably invested more in personal property than you realize. Computers, iPods, TVs, clothing, jewelry, cell phones and furniture would be expensive to replace in case of fire or theft. Renter’s insurance is a good idea and can be surprisingly affordable.
  • 8. Leases & Tenancies-At-Will

    Your landlord may offer you a lease, which typically runs for one year, or a verbal or written tenancy-at-will agreement, which runs from month to month. A tenancy-at-will agreement gives you the opportunity to move out after giving the landlord a proper 30-day written notice, but it also allows the landlord to ask you to leave or give a rent increase with a proper 30-day written notice. A lease offers you more security. Read the agreement completely before signing it and keep a copy for your records.
  • 9. Roommates

    If you have a lease, you will probably be responsible for paying the entire rent if a roommate moves out.
  • 10. Evictions

    If your landlord wants to evict you, he/she must terminate your tenancy with the proper written notice and then file a summary process action in court. Ultimately, only a judge can evict you. Make sure you respond to any court documents you receive. If you do not show up to defend yourself in court, you will lose by default.