Massachusetts Vacation & Recreational Agreements

By Gilbert Manda

A Massachusetts vacation and recreational agreement is a lease contract that stipulates conditions agreeable to both the renter and the property owner. Typically, the agreement will indicate the duration of the lease, the amenities provided and the restrictions. The purpose of this written agreement is to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

Exemption from Common Tenancy Requirements.

Massachusetts law exempts from certain tenancy provisions a tenancy agreement of 100 days or less that is made for vacation or recreational purposes. The landlord must indicate in the agreement that your tenancy is “for a vacation or recreational purpose as is expressed in Massachusetts General Laws c. 186 15B (9),” according to the Consumer Assistance Council. But the landlord might choose to use your security deposit for cleaning and other exemptions from normal landlord/tenant regulations if that is one of the provisions of the agreement.

Check-in Time

The agreement must indicate the day and time it takes effect. The property must be in reasonably good condition for the tenant to use for vacation or recreational purposes. If the property is not ready, then the owner has a responsibility to inform the tenant of any delays. The agreement must also clearly indicate that the day you move in, you will be given a set of keys. You must then go through a checklist of all the items on the property and agree to shoulder the cost of replacement in case of any damage.

Total Rent Payment

The agreement must indicate that you as tenant will pay the full rent, including utility costs and a deposit. The security deposit will be used to repair any damage to the property, or for cleaning purposes. If the property does not require cleaning or repair, the agreement must indicate the renter will receive his deposit back. The law in Massachusetts requires that the deposit be held in a non-interest-bearing account. The contract should also indicate the method by which the deposit will be paid back, and the time frame.

Asserting Your Right

If the state of the property does not meet your expectations, or the landlord refuses to return your deposit as stipulated in the agreement, you can take legal action. An unfair or deceptive practice is in violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. The law requires you to send the merchant a letter expressing your grievance 30 days before going to court. You must detail your complaint in the letter, the loss you have suffered, and how you want the issue resolved. The letter is known as a 30-Day Demand Letter. Your landlord is required to respond within 30 days, after which he could be liable for triple damages and attorney’s fees, according to the state's Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Alternatively, you can seek mediation through local consumer groups.

About the Author

Gilbert Manda has written financial news since 2000. He holds a professional diploma from the London School of Journalism, a Bachelor of Science in global business and public policy from the University of Maryland and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University London.

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