In a word—no.
Massachusetts law tends to favor tenants. This is understandable, as tenants have their home to lose, but it can lead to frustrating situations when a tenant is uncooperative, remiss in paying rent, or blatantly disrespectful to the property and its furnishings.
The law in Massachusetts allows landlords to collect a security deposit and the last month’s rent. These must be kept in a separate, interest-bearing account, with all the relevant details of the bank and the account provided to the tenant within thirty days of move-in.
Tenants are entitled to up to five percent interest on their deposit: if the money is held in a bank with a lower rate, the lower rate will stand; if the landlord is holding the money, the landlord must pay five percent. Additionally, within thirty days of a tenancy’s anniversary, the landlord must either return the interest to the tenant or apply it to the next month’s rent.
When a tenant moves out, their prepayments must be returned within thirty days or otherwise transferred to their new landlord. Portions of the security deposit can be withheld for damages only when a detailed list of the damages and required repairs is given to the tenant within a month, submitted under pain of perjury.
The penalties for mishandling, or inappropriately withholding, a security deposit or other prepayment can be stiff. Tenants are entitled not only to the return of their prepayments, but up to triple damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs.