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Amenity use fee for lessee in Massachusetts

Is it legal in Massachusetts for landlords or owners of large apartment complexes to charge amenity fees for things like using the gym or the pool. I'm going back into the market soon and the last time I was looking for an apartment I remember those fees could be pretty steep. I like having a gym but too much is too much. Thank your.

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There was a recent case from our Federal District court that addressed this issue. in Hermida v. Archstone Properties (D. Mass. Nov. 29, 2011), the court agreed with the general reasoning put forth by tenant advocates for years regarding amenity fees and pet fees or deposits:   Massachusetts law only allows landlords to charge tenants for certain specified things prior to the commencement of a lease, including: (1) first month’s rent, (2) last month’s rent, (3) a security deposit, and (4) a lock change or key fee.  So, no, amenity fees, like pet deposits, are not legal in Massachusetts.

In light of this decision, I suppose landlords will be faced with either doing away with the fees and making less per month, or, perhaps more likely, charging an increased amount in rent to make up for the lost amenity fees.  Good luck with your apartment hunt.


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