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Legal to charge for deposit for utilities if landlord pays utilities on separate meter?

I own a 2-family and have separate electricity and heating meters. I have solar panels installed and to allocate the credit need to maintain the electric accounts myself (they will benefit from the solar panel production).

I am also renting the apartments furnished to people often on sabbatical and it's easier if we keep the utilities in our name for their ease.

We are planning to send the tenants a copy of the bill and have them pay the utilities to us directly. I would state all of this in the lease.

Is it legal to keep the utilities in our name if everything is metered separately and according to the law?

Is it legal to charge for a deposit for utilities so we're not left holding the bag on people who decide to not pay the utilities?

Thank you!

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I don't know the answer to the first question, re keeping the separately metered accounts in your name.  But I do know you cannot collect a separate deposit for the utilities.  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).


This is helpful to know that we cannot collect a deposit for this. Thank you!

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