In MA, landlords can ask for two different types of deposits: a security deposit and rent for the last month. These funds must be dealt with in a very specific manner. A summary of the MA guidelines on rental deposits is offered below.
Statement of Property Condition
Within 10 days of accepting a security deposit for MA apartments, landlords should give tenants a statement that itemize any current issues. Tenants must be granted 15 days to review and make any changes to that form. A corrected version should be given to both parties. This document will be used at the end of the tenancy and can be the basis for any damage claims for which a landlord would withhold funds from the security deposit.
Holding of Funds
All deposits must be placed in a MA interest bearing account. They should also be shielded from creditors of the landlord in an escrow or equivalent account. Many financial institutions offer accounts for this specific purpose. The account may contain the information of the tenant (for interest reporting purposes). Landlords must issue a receipt and give details on the institution where the funds are deposited.
Interest Funds and Returning Deposits
Every 12 months, interest must be disbursed to the tenant. This may be done by writing a check from the landlord or as a reduction in rent for a specific month. Upon the end of the tenancy, landlords must pay back security deposits to tenants within 30 days. The landlord may deduct money for damages (not counting normal wear and tear) and unpaid rent. This should be itemized in a list to the tenant. For damages, provide figures for each item.
MA Guidelines On Rental Deposits
The above details are only an overview of MA guidelines on rental deposits. Specific situations will differ and it might be prudent to obtain legal advice. Be sure to call a lawyer that is familiar with MA guidelines. Information on landlord tenant laws may also be found on the MA government website at http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer/housing/tenant-and-landlord.