Massachusetts Rental Application
The Massachusetts Rental Application is a form devised for landlords and property managers to collect information on prospective tenants who have shown interest in renting their property. Displaying consistency and fairness in the applicant-tenant screening process should be a priority for landlords, as the Federal Fair Housing Act contains strict rules, requiring landlords to take all necessary steps to avoid acting discriminatorily to their applicants.
Unlike the majority of states, Massachusetts is unique in that they do not allow applicants to be charged for the application, as stated in Chapter 186 § 15B. This means that any credit or criminal background checks must be completed on the landlord’s dime. This fact, in accumulation with several other factors, leads to it being one of the most tenant-friendly states in the U.S (for better or worse for landlords).
Pre-Screening Questions to Ask
Examples of questions that can be asked to prospective tenants include:
- Do you or anyone that lives with you smoke?
- Do you own one (1) or more pets?
- Have you been evicted in the past? If so, why?
- What do you do for work?
- What’s your monthly income?
- Is there anything that will stand out if I run a background check?
Application Fees: In Massachusetts, landlords ARE NOT PERMITTED to charge application fees.
Security Deposits (Section 15B): Limited to one (1) months’ rent. Must be returned to the tenant(s) within thirty (30) days.