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Can Landlords Charge 'Pet Rent' in Massachusetts?

I read in one of your articles in the “Quick Information Library” that Massachusetts landlords cannot legally charge an additional deposit for pets. But does Massachusetts law prohibit landlords from charging ‘pet rent?’
-- Posted on the Forum by Jill

I looked high and low but could not find any Massachusetts law or regulation that prohibits landlords from charging additional rent for pets. However, as always, I invite other attorneys who read the Forum to enlighten me. The general rule in other parts of the country is that landlords can charge pet rent as long as they do so in a non-discriminatory manner.

Landlords argue that pet rent is necessary because, no matter how well-behaved an animal is, eventually it will cause some damage to the apartment or to the common areas. That damage (or wear and tear, if you prefer) costs the landlord time and money to repair (or, in some unpleasant situations, to clean up).

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