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Full Chapter - Security Deposits and Last Month's Rent

Produced by Maureen McDonagh
Reviewed May 2017

The Massachusetts security deposit law protects both you and your landlord.

Once you agree to rent a place, your landlord can charge you a security deposit to protect her property from any damage you might cause. She can also charge you last month’s rent to protect her if you move out before paying it.

The security deposit law also protects you and landlords must follow the law.1 This chapter explains your rights if your landlord charges you a security deposit, last month’s rent or both.

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to get written receipts from your landlord for the security deposit and last month’s rent. Only give your landlord cash if she gives you a receipt right away.


1 . G.L. c. 186, §15B applies to most landlords. The security deposit law does not apply to landlords who rent places for seasonal or vacation purposes for 100 days or less. See G.L. c. 186, §15B(9). The security deposit law also does not apply “to a foreclosing mortgagee or a mortgagee in possession which is a financial institution chartered by the commonwealth or the United States.” See G.L. c. 186, §15B(5)

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