My building was sold, and I have a new landlord. Under Massachusetts law, what happens to my security deposit?
-- (Posted by Adam on the Forum Chat Room.)
Massachusetts law thoroughly protects tenants in your situation. When a landlord sells a building, he or she must transfer all deposits to the new owner, along with any interest that has accrued on the funds. Then, within forty-five days of the sale of the building, the new owner must send you a notice informing you that he has your deposit and providing his “name, business address, and business telephone number, and the name, business address, and business telephone number of his agent, if any.” This issue is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 186, Section 15B(5).
Interestingly, both the old and the new owner of the building are responsible to the tenant for the effective transfer of the deposit. If you do not get the notice from the new owner in a timely manner, you can demand that the old owner return your deposit to you. Moreover, even if the new landlord never received your deposit, he is still responsible for it, and a court may require him to refund the full amount to you (or allow you to deduct the amount from your rent). This rule does not apply in cases of foreclosure, however.
So, in short, keep track of the 45 day window and make sure you know where your deposit is.