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8 Things to Know Before Signing a Lease in Massachusetts

If you're entering into a residential lease, it may be worth it to enter into a written lease. While many landlords still go by oral or unwritten leases, a written one will guarantee you certain protections.

You might not always want to get a lawyer to review your lease. But if you opt for reviewing your lease without the help of a real estate lawyer, here are a few things you should know:

  1. Always read the lease. Even of the landlord says that the lease is standard and that it's the same lease he or she has every tenant sign, you want to make sure that you understand what you are signing before you sign it.
  2. Rent amount. The lease must include the amount of rent. Without including this provision, the lease isn't valid.
  3. The dates of tenancy. The lease must specify the date when the lease ends.
  4. Security deposit. The lease must discuss the amount of your security deposit and your rights regarding your security deposit. Also, the lease must not say that the security deposit may be used to pay for utilities if you fail to pay for them.
  5. The name and contact info of the landlord. The same must be included for any person responsible for maintaining the property.
  6. Repairs. The lease is not allowed to say that the tenant bears the burden of all repairs. That's the landlord's responsibility, unless the tenant breaks something.
  7. Electricity and gas. The lease cannot specify that the tenant has to pay for electricity and gas if the bill comes in the landlord's name or if there is no meter separately calculating the tenant's utilities.
  8. Landlord entry. A clause that says a landlord can enter the premises for any reason is not valid. A landlord can only enter to make repairs, show the apartment to prospective tenants or purchasers, or to inspect the apartment.

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