Landlord Rights

Landlord rights is a topic that I often get asked about, usually by landlords themselves in frustration over Massachusetts landlord-tenant laws. While tenant rights are more commonly known by those involved in landlord-tenant law, landlords certainly have rights of their own.

Right to Payment for Rental Property

Landlords have a right to receive payment for someone else living in their rental property. This is, of course, known as rent for persons who are a landlord’s tenant.

The law, however, also entitles a landlord to receive payment for any person living in a rental property past their lease term without the landlord’s permission (referred to as a tenant at sufferance). Such payments are colloquially known as “use-and-occupancy payments.”

Right to Proper Care and Maintenance of Rental Property

Landlords have a right to demand that tenants properly care for and maintain a rental property. This is a common provision in most standard leases, and a tenant’s failure to comply with this requirement can be grounds for eviction.

For dire circumstances, where a landlord needs relief right away, a court can issue an injunction, which is an order requiring or prohibiting a tenant from doing something. This can be effective in a case where a tenant is damaging property and the landlord needs something done about it right away.

Right to Reobtain Possession of Rental Property

When a landlord rents property, they retain ownership but grant possession to the tenant. A landlord, however, has a right to reobtain possession of the rental property under the proper circumstances.

If a tenant refuses to vacate the rental property, the landlord has a right to evict the tenant. There are no exceptions to this: a landlord can never try and force a tenant out without a formal court proceeding (commonly known as a “self-help” eviction).


Landlord rights absolutely exist in Massachusetts, and landlords should not hesitate to protect their rental property when necessary. If you need assistance with a landlord-tenant matter, contact me for a consultation.