Changing Leases

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed November 28, 2005
  1. Can I change my public housing lease?
  2. Can housing authorities change the form lease?

Can I change my public housing lease?

Yes. You may approach your housing authority at any time and ask that your lease be changed.1
The housing authority, however, does not have to make changes requested
by a tenant. State and federal housing agencies require certain
provisions in public housing leases, so the housing authority will not
make any changes that violate these requirements. These requirements do
not, however, prohibit the addition of new lease provisions. To change
the lease, a written addendum (or rider) to the lease must be signed by
you and your housing authority. A lease addendum is a piece of paper
that is added or attached to your lease which makes a change to your
current lease.2

Can housing authorities change the form lease?

The housing
authority may change everyone’s lease from time to time by changing the
lease form. These changes have to be in writing.

State public housing

For state public
housing, the lease must be approved by the Department of Housing and
Community Development (DHCD). Before submitting a lease for approval,
however, a housing authority must consult with your tenant
organization. If there is any disagreement between the tenant
organization and the housing authority about what is in the lease, the
tenant organization may present its position to DHCD.3

Federal public housing

The housing authority may change the form lease at any time.4
If the housing authority wants to make a change, it must provide at
least 30 days notice to tenants and resident organizations. The notice
must explain the changes and the reasons for them and provide an
opportunity to tenants to present written comments.

The notice must be
delivered or mailed to each tenant or posted in at least three very
noticeable places in each building affected. If there are any changes
that you or your tenant organization wants to make, this is an
important opportunity to make recommendations. The housing authority
must review any comments before adopting a new lease form.5

Model Leases

Both the state and federal housing agencies provide model or sample leases that you can compare your lease to.

Federal public housing lease

State public housing lease.


124 C.F.R. § 966.4(a)(4).

224 C.F.R. § 966.4(o).

3760 C.M.R. §6.06(1).

424 C.F.R. §§ 966.4(a)(3) and 966.5.

524 C.F.R. §§ 966.3 and 966.5.

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