Massachusetts Landlords are limited in what they can lawfully charge a tenant before the commencement of a tenancy. Most landlords know what they can charge and what they cannot. With this reason, I would say most abide by this rule and, to be honest, I would be more worried about a tenant trying to take advantage of a landlord by trying to get the landlord to lower or reduce these fees. With that said, a Massachusetts Landlord can lawfully charge:
- First full month of occupancy; and
- Rent for the last full month of occupancy calculated at the same rate as the first month; and
- A security deposit equal to the first month’s rent provided that such security deposit is deposited in accordance with the security deposit law; and
- The purchase and installation cost for a key and lock.
Anything more than what was mentioned above cannot be enforced against a new occupant. As a tenant, you should take note of what is allowed and what is not. As for landlords, these fees are used to protect your interest in the property. I would not recommend reducing or changing a policy just because a tenant does not think the fees are fair. In most cases, charging these fees in advance, is in your best interest as a landlord.