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This is the sixth post in our series on Massachusetts housing law. Click here to see our previous posts in this area.

Did you pay your landlord a security deposit? Are you wondering what your landlord's duties are for your security deposit?

Chapter 186 § 15B of the Massachusetts General Laws spells out a landlord's obligations relating to the security deposit.

Your landlord must, in part:

  • Keep your security deposit in a bank account that is separate from their personal bank account.

  • Provide you with a receipt within 30 days of receiving your security deposit that states which bank the deposit is held in.

  • Pay interest at the rate of 5% per year or the interest rate at the bank where the deposit is held. The landlord must pay this interest to the tenant each year or indicate that the tenant may deduct the interest from the rent for that month.

What happens if your landlord fails to comply with any of the above requirements? You can ask your landlord to return your security deposit, and they must do so, even if you still live in the apartment. Your landlord also may have to pay you three times the amount of your security deposit for certain violations of the security deposit law.

You may also have a situation where you live in the same apartment but a new landlord has taken over. In that case, your new landlord must provide you with notice about your security deposit and last month's rent within 45 days.


A related issue is what your landlord is allowed to charge you under the Security Deposit Law. Your landlord may only charge you for:

  • First month's rent

  • Last month's rent

  • A new lock and key

  • Security deposit (which cannot be more than your first month's rent)

Moreover, your landlord may not require you to pay additional fees such as pet fees or application fees.


How can the Law Office of Thomas R. Davis help you?

If you have a housing issue, the Law Office of Thomas R. Davis is here to help.

Call us any time at (617) 431-3887 for a free, no obligation attorney consultation. You can also schedule a free 60 minute consultation online at We are here to provide you with the quality representation you deserve.


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