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Tenant Rights

Boston Rental Housing Center: Guide for Tenants and Landlords

Tenant's Rights

You have the right to have certain things available to you in your apartment in order to make it livable, within the terms of the lease. If the following requirements are not met, you have the right to withhold a portion of the rent, from the date the landlord is notified:

  • You must be provided with running water, and you can’t be charged for it. Also, you must be provided a sink, stove, and oven. Note that a refridgerator is not required, but if one is provided it must be kept in good working condition.
  • The landlord must keep the apartment rodent- and insect-free.
  • Your landlord (or their agent) may only enter your apartment to inspect the premises, make repairs, show the apartment to prospective tenants, in accordance with a court order, or if the apartment seems abandoned, and they must provide proper notice.
  • Your landlord cannot terminate tenancy or raise rent in response to you exercising your legal rights. If such actions are taken within six months of you contacting the Board of Health, joining a tenants' organization, or exercising any other legal rights, those actions can be considered retaliation against you. The landlord will be required to prove otherwise.

Tenant Responsibilities

  • Pay your rent - Pay your rent on time or you may be subject to late fees and/or eviciton
  • Follow the terms of the lease - You can be evicted before your lease is up if you do not obey the terms of the lease.
  • Write down and photograph any damages - You are responsible for documenting and providing your landlord with a list of everything that is wrong when you move in. When you move out, if there are damages to the apartment, the landlord has the right to charge for the damages.
  • Remove garbage and recyclables in a clean and safe manner into the appropriate containers and follow proper garbage collection procedures.
  • Be responsible for your conduct and the conduct of other presons on the property, whether known by you or not.

These are your rights — use them to your benefit and make your tenancy a successful and happy one! If you want more information, go to the Rental Housing Services

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