General Information

Rights & Responsibilities

Jump to: Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities | Landlord Responsibilities | Non-discrimination

Tenant's Rights and Responsibilities
The legal rights and obligations associated with being a tenant and some common terms and regulations of the tenant/landlord relationship are highlighted below. If you need information about your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant, contact:

Tenant Responsibilities

  • Use the dwelling unit for residential purposes only (not for business or commercial purposes and not for any illegal activity)
  • Limit the number of people living in the unit to the number of people written into the lease. However, this does not mean that the landlord can restrict your right to have visitors on the premises and reasonable overnight guests
  • Pay rent and utility bills that are the tenant's responsibility under the lease, on the due dates and in the agreed way
  • Keep unit clean and safe; promptly notify landlord of any damage to the premises; pay for any damage caused by tenant or his/her guests; this does not apply to normal wear and tear and maintenance of the property, which are the responsibilities of the landlord
  • Dispose of all trash and other waste in a clean and safe manner and according to the instructions provided by the landlord; if tenants violate trash disposal rules they can be fined by the city of residence,
  • Use electrical, plumbing and heating facilities in a safe and careful manner
  • Not destroy, deface, damage the premises or remove any part of the premises
  • Not make any alteration to the premises without first getting the property owner's consent in writing
  • Not keep any animals in the unit, unless permitted by the lease ("special animals" for people with disabilities are excepted)
  • Not change locks to the premises without written permission from property owner, who must have access to the premises at all times, in case of an emergency
  • Conduct themselves, and require any person on the premises with tenant's consent to conduct themselves, in a manner that will not disturb the other tenants' peaceful enjoyment of the premises
  • Report all problems with the apartment to the property owner/manager; communicate problems with the property and give notices in writing; keep copies of all written communication with the property owner/manager
  • Leave apartment clean and in a condition similar to the one at the beginning of the lease, wear and tear excepted
  • Fill out a move-in/move-out checklist
  • Provide proper written notice of intention to terminate or renew lease
  • Provide written notification of forwarding address for the return of security deposit.

Landlord Responsibilities
The State Sanitary Code sets forth certain obligations and responsibilities for the landlord. Some of the landlord's obligations require him or her to:

  • Maintain every entry door and accessible window with locks to secure against unlawful entry
  • Provide two exits per dwelling unit.
  • Provide working smoke detectors in/near every bedroom, hallway and basement
  • Keep clean and sanitary any common area not occupied by one tenant exclusively
  • Make repairs in a timely manner
  • Provide and maintain a heating system in good operating order
  • Keep the rental unit free from rodents and insects
  • Provide hot water, unless you are provided fuel for heating water under a written lease agreement
  • Maintain structural elements of the rental unit to be weather tight, watertight, and in good repair
  • Maintain every exit used or intended for use by tenants of more than one apartment free from obstructions, including snow
  • Remove all lead paint from any rental unit in which children under age six live
  • Obey the regulations of the State Sanitary Code and disclose to prospective tenants the existence of any condition that is a violation of the law.

Discrimination is always deplorable, but it is not always illegal. Tufts' regulations prohibit discrimination in its housing, but many of the apartments available in Medford & Somerville are owner-occupied two-family dwellings whose owners may legally refuse to rent to anyone for any reason. (Mass. General Laws, c. 151B, s. 4).Owner-occupied buildings with three or more units, however, and those in which the owner does not reside, are covered by applicable state and federal non-discrimination laws prohibiting discrimination on race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, physical or mental handicap, children, sexual orientation or marital status. A landlord also cannot discriminate against you because you receive welfare or other public assistance or because of your military status. If you feel you have been discriminated against by a landlord, please notify the recommending resource. You may wish to keep notes describing the circumstance, in case you decide to pursue the matter more formally. In addition, you may contact:

  Off-Campus Housing Resource Center, Harleston Hall, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 02155  |  Tel: (617) 627-3248  |  Fax: (617) 627-3929  |  Email us