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I am negotiating with a landlord for a month to month tenancy. However, I have a dog, and my prospective landlord says I will have to pay an additional "dog deposit" to cover any damages my dog may cause. Is that against the law in MA?
-- Kim, Methuen

Massachusetts law prohibits landlords from collecting any money in advance of a new tenancy other than the first and last month's rent, a security deposit in an amount equal to or less than one month's rent, and the cost of installing a new lock. (Massachusetts General Laws, c. 186, s. 15B).

If your landlord is already requiring these advance payments, he cannot collect a "dog deposit" or any other type of deposit.

On the other hand, a landlord may insert language in a lease or tenancy agreement that prohibits pets. With a few exceptions, like dogs trained to assist disabled persons, such a prohibition is legal and enforceable.

(Submitted by the Editor)

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