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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
I recently bought a 2 family house in Massachusetts and wish to rent out the first floor unit consisting of 4 different rooms. As a new landlord, I wish to rent out the rooms to 4 different individuals.

When it comes to signing the lease with the new prospective tenants, do I need to prepare 4 different leases so that each individual has their own lease they abide by, even though they are all the same lease, but different rooms? So that it has just their name and my name on each of the 4 leases, or do I sign the lease with all of them together in one lease agreement document?

I would like to know what is the proper way of conducting the lease signing procedure either individual lease for each person or one lease for all individuals for the state of Massachusetts?

Thank you so much.

Posts: 550
Reply with quote  #2 
You are best to check with an attorney, but I think it makes the most sense to have separate leases for each tenant. This way, as you fill each room, tenants move out, new tenants move in, etc., everything stays nice and simple.

You should also have very clear rules governing noise, guests, parking, use of shared spaces and personal rooms, etc. This is asking for roommate drama, and neither you nor your tenants are going to like it at times. Having clear rules from the beginning is the best way to avoid as much of that as possible and have something to point to when issues arise.

Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #3 
Are these 4 roommates who will share the unit?  Or 4 strangers you are renting rooms to?

If the first answer is yes:  If you write 4 separate leases, each one has his own rental amount to pay.  If 3 of the roommates leave, you only collect 1/4 of the rent while the other rooms sit empty.  With one lease, the remaining tenants still pay the whole rental amount, even if there are less roommates.  Make each tenant separately and jointly liable for all lease terms if you write one lease.

If the second answer is yes, then you need to look up the state laws on rooming houses.  Many states have specific laws on rooming houses.  If a rooming house, you will need individual entry locks on each person's door.  You may need separate smoke detectors, emergency hallway or stairwell lighting, etc.  You will definitely need the rules that LL in VA talked about.
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