Security Deposits? In Massachusetts, They Are Not Worth The Risks

This was originally published on September 30, 2014.

Real Estate & Estate Planning

Many term leases run from September to August.  For these leases, today is the last day for Landlords to take care of their Tenant’s security deposit. Landlords must return deposits within 30 days after the Tenant vacates for a tenant at will or the 30 days after the expiration of a term lease.

For the most part, a Landlord may deduct unpaid rent in certain circumstances and the cost of damage to the premises, reasonable wear and tear excepted.  Landlords must follow the law precisely or risk triple damages (three times the security deposit) and attorneys fees.  The Landlord must provide an itemized list of damages, itemizing in detail the damage and the repair necessitated. The Landlord must provide written evidence, indicating the actual or estimated repair cost. Landlords must sign the itemized list under the pains and penalties of perjury. Be careful, what constitutes a repair as opposed to…

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