In MA am I entitled to 5% interest on last month’s rent paid at the beginning of tenancy?

Additional Information:

My landlord took a Security Deposit ($2000+) and Last Month’s Rent ($2000+).  After tenancy ended he returned a portion of the Security Deposit (less “damages”) and also gave me “interest” on Last Months Rent of roughly 7 dollars.   Mass Law states that Landlord needs to pay 5% or such lesser amount as he gets from the Bank.  So, my question is, with respect to Last Month’s Rent, if Landlord put last months rent in a personal checking account that paid 0% interest, does that mean I am entitled to 0% or 5%?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

There is no requirement that the last month’s rent be put in a separate interest bearing account. If the landlord does not put the last month’s rent in an account, he would owe his tenant 5% annually. If the landlord put the money in a bank and received only 3% interest, he would only owe you 3% annually on your last month’s rent. You said your landlord advised you that he had the last month’s rent in an account that did not pay interest. This sounds highly suspect to me and I would request from him a copy of the bank records on the same.

On the issue of whether to file a complaint or not, the answer is that it really depends. Usually, the amount of interest owed is very small compared to the cost of filing a complaint and hiring an attorney to pursue to the same. In the end you may get your interest back, but be stuck with a bill that is much larger than your award. You should take this into consideration before deciding to pursue this matter or consider filing a small claims case where you represent yourself.

If you were still residing at the apartment, Massachusetts law provides that you can deduct the interest from one of your rent payments as outlined above.

You should also realize that Massachusetts law has a built in penalty provision which states if your landlord fails to pay you your interest within 30 days of the termination of your tenancy, you may be entitled to three times the amount of your interest, court costs and reasonable attorney fees. In that situation, you might consider filing suit because of that penalty provision.

The Needham MA Landlord/TenantAttorneys at Goldman & Pease provide legal services to individuals and businesses and serve the Greater Boston region including Alston, Arlington, Belmont, Brighton, Brookline, Cambridge, Canton, Dedham, Dover, Milton, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norwood, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston, West Roxbury, Westwood, and all of Massachusetts.