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Landlord Forms: A Checklist for your Lease or Rental Agreement


If you have rental property in Massachusetts, here’s a quick way you can check the health and currency of your rental forms.  You should have:

  • A primary agreement (be it a “lease” or a “tenancy-at-will”), that specifies
    • Which space is being rented
    • To whom
    • How much
    • Who pays for utilities (you can’t charge for water unless you have separate meters!)
    • Who fixes stuff
    • Whether subletting is allowed (I recommend not)
    • And if you like your agreement, comment below to tell others where to get a copy
  • A summary of everything attached to the primary agreement (all of the “addenda”), which includes everything below:
  • An addendum with your custom terms
    • Do you keep keys to the apartment?  If so, under which conditions may you enter?
    • Is parking allowed?
    • Are pets allowed?  Remember, you can’t charge pet fees or take a pet security deposit.
    • Is smoking allowed?  Yes, you can prohibit smoking on your property.
    • Who replaces smoke detector batteries?
    • Are judgments for legal expenses capped?
    • Who pays for lock-outs?
  • No smoking addendum
    • You shouldn’t be held responsible for  health effects if someone smokes on your no-smoking property.
  • Insect infestation addendum
    • Landlords must pay for extermination, but tenants must comply with extermination procedures.
  • CORI authorization
  • Mold addendum
    • Tenants must keep the place free of moisture and report any problems immediately.
  • Move-out and cleaning fees
    • This is required if you think you might withhold from a security deposit.
  • Lead disclosure forms and copy of lead report
  • Bank signature form (w9 signature card, not just w9) for security deposit account
    • Security deposits must be held under the tenant’s social security number.
  • Utility companies sheet
    • As a courtesy, tell your tenants where to go to start gas and electric service.
  • Bedbug notice
    • Warn your tenants against picking up used mattresses or other furniture off the street.
  • Trash sheet, including number for bulk item removal
    • Help your property stay clean by encouraging tenants to take advantage of free recycling and affordable bulk waste pick-up, if your city has these programs.
    • Tell them which day is their trash day and where to put their trash.
  • A condition of move-in
    • You need this if you ever have to show a judge or other third party that the apartment was in good shape when the tenants moved in.
  • Fuel assistance form
    • Many, many tenants qualify for fuel assistance.  If they get on fuel assistance, a world of benefits may open up to you, including new refrigerators, insulation, and furnaces.  Plus, any money you can save your tenant increases the affordability of your property.

Did I miss anything?  Add your comments below!