Application fees are one of those areas where inexperienced Massachusetts landlords follow common sense instead of the law, and pay penalties as a result. The law for property owners and managers is clear. It states that prior to the beginning of a tenancy, no lessor may require payment for anything except first, last, security, and locks.
Application fees, pet fees, cleaning fees, amenity fees, and all other charges are forbidden. But wait. Largely because the realtors have a better lobby they can charge application fees.
WHAT ABOUT WHEN THE TENANT PAYS FOR THEIR CREDIT REPORT?
Services like Cozy allow a tenant to log into a website, pay for their credit score, and have it sent to the landlord. Surely this is okay, because the landlord doesn't collect the fee? It is questionable as to whether landlords would be putting themselves at risk if they require rather than request that a tenant use Cozy.
Whether you are a Massachusetts landlord or tenant, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar should you require the drafting of a lease, initiating eviction proceedings or defending against an eviction or just want to learn of your rights.
Call Attorney Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.