If you own a residential property, you may decide to earn income by renting it out. Entering into a sort of business relationship with your tenant, you may choose to have him or her sign a lease or rental agreement.

As a landlord, understanding the terms that residential rental agreements should and should not include may help you protect yourself, your property and your tenants.

Required lease agreement terms

According to the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, residential lease agreements should include all the terms that apply to the tenancy. This includes specifying the duration of the tenancy, the agreed-upon rent, and the contact information for the property owner and the person who handles maintenance on the property. If you require your tenants to pay a security deposit, then your residential lease agreement should indicate such and dictate the rights of your tenant to recover that deposit upon moving out.

Prohibited lease agreement terms

The state prevents you as a landlord from placing certain requirements on your tenants. In your lease agreement, you cannot prevent tenants from joining a tenant union or require them to give up their right to take legal action against you for violating the sanitary code. Further, you may not include in your lease agreement terms that would make your tenant pay for the costs of repairs to parts of a building beyond their domicile or the repair of normal wear and tear. You may include terms requiring a fee for late rental payments; however, you cannot require your tenant to pay such a fee before they fall at least 30 days in arrears.