POLL: Have You Paid An Amenities Fee For Your Home?
It's illegal for a landlord to charge an "amenities fee" to renters in Massachusetts, but a recent lawsuit from Boston's West End neighborhood shows at least one landlord is doing it anyway.
Massachusetts law is pretty clear on amenities fees.
It says that, "At or prior to the commencement of any tenancy" a renter can't be required to pay more than first and last month's rent, a security deposit equivalent to the first month's rent, and "the purchase and installation cost for a key and lock."
According to a story on UniversalHub, when plaintiff Cheryl Miller moved into her West End apartment, the property managers asked her for a "one-time fee" of $500 to cover the costs of the concierge, freight elevator use, maintenance, and the fitness center, costs the company presumably feels are not adequately funded by her $2,065 monthly rent.
She's suing the company, Equity Residential Management, who rent out 6,000 apartments in Massachusetts, and claiming that the company's combined tenants are owed more than $5 million for illegal amenities fees since 2008.
Plaintiffs in Reading won a very similar lawsuit over illegal amenities fees, and we at Patch are wondering just how widespread the situation is.
Back Bay renters, were you asked to pay an amenities fee when you moved in? Vote in our poll and leave a comment with your thoughts on the issues at stake.