Many first time landlords think that renting is only about finding a tenant and then collecting the rent. This assumption is wrong and the cause of most legal issues that arise between tenants and landlords. It is your responsibility as a landlord to know what the law requires you to do as a landlord.
Unless you hire a property management company to handle your landlord work, as a self-managing landlord, it will be up to you to read and research all the legal implications of owning a property in Boston or other parts of Massachusetts.
Maintenance is one of the most overlooked areas of property management according to our experience. Not only landlords, but many tenants are also unaware of who is responsible for maintaining a rented property.
Landlord’s Maintenance Responsibility
A landlord is responsible for a number of areas regarding maintenance of a rental property.
At The Time of Rental
According to Massachusetts law, before a property is rented out a landlord is responsible for making sure the home is habitable. This includes ensuring safety, clean water, sewage, heating and cooling facilities are all in good working condition. The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation of MA states:
“You must provide habitable apartments and common areas for the entire tenancy in accordance with the minimum standards of the State Sanitary Code which seeks to protect the health, safety, and well-being of your tenants and the general public.”
During the Lease or Rental Agreement Term
A landlord is responsible for all necessary repairs during the term of the lease or rental agreement. If the home or apartment has something broken that violates the state sanitary code must be reported to the landlord by the tenant. The landlord must then get the problem fixed. If the landlord fails to comply, the tenant has the right to request an inspection, withhold rent or sue the landlord.
To avoid any such inconveniences, it is important that a landlord respond to any requests for repair as soon as possible to make sure their tenant faces no problems in their daily use of their apartment or home.