Massachusetts may be a small state, but its major metropolitan area in Boston makes this state's real estate market one of the hottest in the nation. As a result, rental rates are high, and many landlords wish to capitalize on that with rent increases. However, before raising your rental rates, it's crucial to understand how much and how often Massachusetts law will allow you to.
Renters' rights in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, rental agreements can be either oral or written. According to Massachusetts law, it allows for relatively informal rental agreements that can be written or oral. State law protects landlords and tenants, giving tenants the right to alternative action if maintenance requests are not addressed. In addition, landlords also have the right to collect rent promptly and charge late fees when applicable. Landlords may also take security deposits, but are limited to the amount of one month's rent.
Rent increase laws
Massachusetts state law has no rent control laws and preempts city and county rights to enact rent control policies of their own. Therefore, landlords may charge whatever they see fit. While landlords are free to raise the rent to the rate they choose, they are not allowed to do so during a lease term. Landlords must also give 30 days' notice before raising rental prices at the end of the lease term. This gives tenants time to either accept the rental increase or find a new rental. If a tenant disagrees with the rent increase, they may break lease terms, in which case the landlord must either mediate or take them to court.
Cities with rent control
Rent control was not always banned in Massachusetts. In fact, until 1994 several cities including Brookline, Cambridge, and Boston had rent control policies until the state banned them altogether. This conversation was reopened in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a nationwide rental crisis. Massachusetts lawmakers proposed rent freeze and rent control policies in several cities, including Cambridge, where the rent crisis was felt most. However, they all fell through at the state level and Massachusetts has chosen to not revisit rent control policies since.
Average rent in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has a highly competitive rental market and is ranked 3rd highest in the country for rental prices. The average rent ranges from $976 to $2,336 for a 2-bedroom unit, depending on the proximity to metropolitan areas like Boston and neighboring states. Boston has the highest average rent in the state, with prices ranging from $1,742 per month for studios and $3,168 per month for homes and four-bedroom apartments.
Price smarter with RentSpree
Because Massachusetts is ranked 3rd highest in the nation for rental rates, it's important that landlords price rentals wisely. Pricing strategy is easy with RentSpree, as we offer a rent estimator that calculates ideal rental rates based on unit features, market value, and more. Our all-inclusive platform also includes Massachusetts tenant screening, online marketing, and agent tools that can help you make the most of your Massachusetts rental property.
To learn more about RentSprees features, contact us today to schedule a demo.