Tenant Rights and Issues:
Understanding Rental Requirements
Webster’s Dictionary defines tenant as: “one who has possession of land or tenement of another; specifically: one who rents or leases (as in a house) from a landlord.”
It is the business of a landlord to rent for profit. It is the right of a tenant to think of the rental unit as his/her home, however temporary. To be assured of this right means you must be aware of what is required of you as a tenant and what is required of your landlord.
The basic rules for a good tenant/landlord relationship are:
- Develop a cooperative and business-like relationship from the start.
- Keep communication lines open.
- Put all agreements in writing.
- Know your rights and responsibilities.
The City of Springfield and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission are in the process of updating The City's Analysis of Impedements ot Fair Housing and welcomes your input. Click here for a link to their survey on Fair Housing issues.
If you have a specific housing-related question or problem and don’t find the information you need on this web site, please contact the HAPHousing Housing Consumer Education Center directly at 413-233-1600 (or the HCEC in your area) or email your questions to the Housing Consumer Education Center.
Common tenant rights issues and questions include rent increases, security deposits, eviction, fair housing, poor living conditions and lead paint hazards.
For more basic information on tenant rights you can also:
- Get more information about Tenant Rights & Responsibilities (from the Massachusetts Department of Consumer Affairs)
- Download the Attorney General’s Guide to Landlord/Tenant Rights
- Visit the Mass Law Reform website for listings of booklets, forms, FAQs and other self-help information
- Visit the I-CAN Legal website for information on defending yourself in court
- Order Legal Tactics: Tenants’ Rights in Massachusetts, 6th Ed., A.R. Duke (Ed.), 2005, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Boston, 99 Chuancy Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02111-1703. This has been the basic reference for tenants and tenant advocates since 1971. Easy to read; forms and citations of relevant laws included.
HAPHousing also offers a reference sheet of helpful definitions to better understand the technical terms of rental housing.