Living Off Campus: Five Things to Know When Signing a Lease
Are you planning to live off-campus or considering it in the future? Before signing a lease, make sure to review it carefully and get on the same page with your room/housemates. It’s also helpful to know the important laws in Massachusetts that protect renters. This could help you save money, time, and stress! For example:
- A landlord cannot charge a tenant a late fee unless the rent is more than 30 days past due. (See G.L. c. 186, Section 15B).
- Tenants who live in buildings with three or more apartments can’t lawfully be charged for trash removal. (See 105 CMR 410.60).
- Unless specific submeters are installed in your house/apartment by a certified plumber, a tenant cannot lawfully be charged for water. (See 105 CMR 410.354).
- The amount of your security deposit cannot exceed the first month’s rent, and it must be kept in a separate, interest-earning bank account. (See G.L. c. 186, Section 15B).
- If you sign a lease with a “joint and several” clause, you are committing yourself to paying the full amount of the lease, even if your room/housemates do not pay their portion.
- If you signed a lease for an individual room or an entire apartment and were told by your landlord that you would have to live with a roommate, you may have legal claims against them.
Have more legal questions about renting? Contact the Student Legal Services Office at email@example.com or fill out their intake form to get your questions answered for free!