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Landlord counseling

We offer free counseling to landlords to support owner and tenant stabilization.

We provide individual support to Boston landlords with nine or fewer units. The goal is to help small landlords who face issues with low- to moderate-income tenants, or vulnerable tenants. Counseling services can:

  • inform landlords of their rights and responsibilities
  • find resources and solutions to stabilize landlords and vulnerable tenants
  • coach landlords on best practices, and
  • troubleshoot and solve tenant disputes.

Property owner information

Property owner information

Learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.  Be informed.     

Discuss best practices for:

  • screening and selecting tenants
  • entering and terminating lease agreements
  • maintaining records
  • handling repairs and maintenance, and
  • dealing with and conflict and eviction. 

Take advantage of the collective wisdom gained from decades of working with landlords.

Find time-saving and cost-saving solutions to help preserve tenancies and stabilize ownership, whenever possible.

Get tools to help communicate and build relationships with your tenants.  Positive communication can help prevent and resolve disputes. 

Discover resources for landlords. Being a landlord is a lot of work and can be difficult. You're not alone. The City and state offer programs that support landlords. There also are local trade associations and nonprofits serving landlords large and small. 


You have the right to perform a background check.  The background check can be used to ensure a future tenant can meet tenant obligations. This includes paying rent and following lease terms.  The background check must not be used to unlawfully screen out tenants.

You can request first month's rent, last month's rent, a security deposit, and a lock change fee at the start of a tenancy.  Be sure to properly handle these fees. 

You have the right to enforce lease and property rules.

You have the right to timely rent payments.  You may charge a late fee only if there is a written agreement. This fee cannot be charged unless the rent is at least 30 days late.


You must provide a safe and sanitary living space. This means the apartment must have adequate heat, hot water, plumbing, and exits. The apartment must also have a stove, kitchen, locks, and smoke detectors. There should be no pests or water leaks.

You must follow a legal process to evict a tenant.  You cannot lock out a tenant without a court order.  You cannot force a tenant out by shutting off the utilities.

You must post contact information in the building.

You must register your rental units with the Inspectional Services Department. Rental units must be inspected at least once every five years (except in one- to six-unit, owner-occupied buildings).

If you are a landlord having difficulty paying your mortgage, you have options.

Learn about the state's Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program:


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