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Massachusetts Rental Laws You May Not Have Known: An Interview Maxwell Burke of Boston Luxe Real Estate, LLC

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Boston Luxe Real Estate is primarily involved in the sale and rental of residential property. I founded it in 2010 and Boston Luxe merged with Drew Abysalh in 2011 to pursue our vision of making the real estate market "new, accessible, honest, and a fun industry filled with integrity." While our original location was in the South End, Boston Luxe moved to Boston's prestigious Newbury Street in December 2011 in order to accommodate a larger staff and a growing market share.

At Boston Luxe we put our clients first. YOU are our priority. Whether you are buying, renting or looking for a qualified property management team, our goal is to make your Real Estate experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. We believe that every client deserves the Luxe treatment and that every successful transaction ends with complete satisfaction.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Boston Luxe is a full service real estate brokerage. Our original market initially emphasized luxury rentals, Boston Luxe is now one of Boston's top 100 sales brokerages as well. Servicing the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Bay Village, Downtown, the Financial District, Waterfront, North End, South End, the Fenway, Midtown, and South Boston, we provide a personalized real estate experience for young professionals and relocation services for individuals and families who are new to the Boston area.

What safety standards are required by law to be present in any MA apartment?

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health establishes regulations detailing the standards which must be maintained by the occupants and owners of housing. These regulations protect the health, safety and well-being of Massachusetts citizens. Some of these safety standards required by law are:

1. Kitchen Facilities: A kitchen must contain a kitchen sink, proper facilities for the installation of a refrigerator, and must be free from defects. 2. Bathroom Facilities: Bathroom facilities must include a toilet with a toilet seat and a bathtub or shower. These must be situated in a room which allows a person privacy. 3. Water Supply: The owner must provide water in a sufficient quantity and pressure so that the occupant's ordinary needs are met. 4. Heating and Hot Water Facilities must be provided and kept in good working order by the owner. 5. Smoke Detectors: The owner of a dwelling that is required by law to be equipped with smoke detectors must maintain them in compliance with regulations of the State Board of Fire Prevention.

Can a landlord evict you during the middle of the lease? What actions grant an eviction notice?

Tenant with a Lease is one who signs a lease to rent a particular apartment for a specified period of time. Under this tenancy, the landlord cannot attempt to evict you before the end of your lease, unless you violate the lease agreement.

A Tenant at Will is one who occupies a rented apartment without a lease. In this case, the landlord or you may terminate this arrangement at any time by giving written notice of 30 days or one full rental period in advance, whichever is longer. No reason is required to terminate a Tenancy at Will.

Your landlord may attempt to evict you if you have not been paying your rent, or if you or people under your control have caused excessive damage to your apartment or you have violated the terms of your lease. Your landlord must first send you a "Notice to Quit" your tenancy. If the landlord is terminating your tenancy for non-payment of rent, s/he must send you a "14-Day Notice to Quit" (M.G.L.c.186, §§ 11 and 12). Your lease will specify the notice requirement for other terminations; it is typically seven days.

Can my landlord increase my rent during the duration of the lease agreement?

If you are a Tenant with a Lease, under this tenancy the landlord cannot increase your rent until the end of the lease. But if you are a Tenant at Will, s/he must send you a proper legal notice terminating your tenancy, and then make you an offer to remain in the apartment for the increased rent.

What fees can my landlord charge me before I move in?

Last month's rent is the pre-payment to the landlord for the last month of tenancy. A security deposit is a deposit of money to the landlord to ensure that rent will be paid and other responsibilities of the agreement will be performed.

What are some other MA laws that a tenant should know before renting their first apartment?

-Shutoff Rights: The landlord cannot cause the removal or shutoff of the utilities except for a temporary period during repair or emergencies. In cases when a landlord's account is about to be shut off for non-payment, the utility company must notify you 30 days before the scheduled termination. -A landlord cannot lock you out or throw you out of your apartment without a judge's order. If you are being evicted, Massachusetts law provides you with some protections.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

At Boston Luxe Real Estate we are here to help you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are looking for a trendy loft in the South End or a quiet townhouse in the Back Bay, we have the perfect place for you. We specialize in finding you exactly what you are looking for. If you are interested in buying, selling, or listing your property, call us at (617) 267-4600 or stop by our Third Floor office at 218 Newbury Street. We'd love to hear from you!

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