Rights & Responsibilities

While the landlord is the ultimate owner of the property, you also have specific rights as a tenant. It is important to know both your rights and responsibilities as a renter, and your landlord’s rights and responsibilities. Learn more Massachussetts tenant rights and responsibilities below.

Each state has different laws, so make sure you familiarize yourself with state and city housing laws in your new destination. Moving out-of-state for co-op? Visit Beyond Boston Resources

  • Lease – The lease is a binding contract and both the tenant and the landlord are required to follow its terms.
  • Rent – Pay your rent on time or you may be subject to late fees and/or eviction.
  • Water – You must be provided with running water and can’t be charged for it unless you live in a single-family home or you have a sub-meter for your unit.
  • Utilities – The tenant is responsible for their own electricity and gas usage, which should be stated in the lease. 
  • Appliances – You must be provided with a sink, stove, and oven which need to be repaired if broken. Other appliances such as a fridge or washer is not required.
  • Pest Free – Your landlord is required to keep your apartment pest free. However, tenants must also maintain a clean apartment to prevent pests.
  • Notice of Entry – Your landlord or agent may enter your apartment by giving a notice of entry outlined in the lease unless it is an emergency.
  • 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 and deduct the cost from your security deposit.
  • Trash – Remove all trash to appropriate containers and follow proper garbage collection procedures for your street.
  • Conduct – Tenants are responsible for their own and the conduct of other persons on the property.
  • Retaliation – Your landlord cannot terminate tenancy or raise rent in response to you exercising your legal right. 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.

Use your rights to your benefit and make your tenancy a successful and happy one! More great information can be found on the City of Boston Neighborhood Development Office of Housing Stability website and in the Good Neighbor Handbook.

What can I do if my landlord violates my rights?

Use the following resources to take action!


Northeastern University

Off Campus Engagement and Support (Boston)

151 Speare Hall

(617) 373-8480



Yammer Community

Network Housing and Relocation

(617) 373-7071


Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm

or schedule a virtual appointment.