If you own a rental property in Massachusetts, you have the option to use a rental agreement, lease agreement, or no agreement at all. Rental agreements are typically on a month-to-month basis whereas lease agreements for MA rental properties are for a specific period of time. It is typically best to have tenants sign a lease agreement. Here are a few things you should know about the importance of lease agreements for MA rental properties.

Minimizing Liability

Lease agreements, when written properly, can help shield landlords from liability. Lease agreements often define the specific responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. It may also cover situations where injuries may occur to individuals within an apartment. Some things are clearly out of a landlord’s control or knowledge and lease agreements may help cover those situations.

Lowering the Cost of Turnover

There is a cost to tenant turnover. Landlord’s typically pay to have an apartment cleaned and to market the unit to future tenants. Having a lease for a defined period of time (i.e. one year) can help prevent more frequent turnover. This ultimately reduces operating costs.

Mitigating Disagreements

It is common to have disagreements or misunderstandings between tenants and landlords. Leases help minimize that by clearly defining the terms of the rental. Leases should indicate what exactly is included in the rental, what costs are covered by each party, how repairs will be handled, etc. Leases may also outline early termination provisions, insurance requirements, any fees, future renewal, and more. Some even cover how lease disputes may be handled.

Understanding Lease Agreements for MA Rental Properties

There is no such thing as a standard lease. Although certain entities (such as the Massachusetts Association of Realtors) offer lease templates, this does not necessarily mean that it includes all possible lease provisions or that all included provisions are acceptable to both parties. If you are unsure of what terms to include in the lease for your rental properties, contact a real estate attorney for advice. Your attorney can prepare a lease that takes into account your specific property and lease preferences. Contact the Martino Law Group for assistance with lease agreements for MA rental properties.