New Sanitary Code Effective in April — Implementation Delayed

April 5, 2023

- By The MAR Legal Team

The publication date and effective date of the updated Code is May 12, 2023. Additional information can be found here:

Following several rounds of debate and revisions, Massachusetts has a new State Sanitary Code going into effect in April, 2023. While many of the previous provisions remain, there are several significant changes that REALTORS® should take note of. The new Code may be accessed here.

Landlord Access: Except for emergency situations, landlords must provide tenants with at least 48 hours’ notice prior to entering the property. 

Appliances: While a landlord remains obligated to provide a stove and oven, except where a written lease agreement requires the tenant to provide these appliances, the Code now applies the same requirement to refrigerators and freezers. 

Kitchen Walls: The walls above the countertop in the kitchen area must have a non-absorbent and easy-to-clean surface that extends at least 24 inches above the countertop where possible.  

Heating Season: The new Code shortens the heating season to September 15 through May 31, although local boards of health retain the ability to further shorten the heating season. 

Electrical: Tenants who are required through their written lease agreement to pay for electricity must be provided access to their dwelling unit’s electrical distribution panel at all times. 

Notice of Tenant Rights: Landlords must provide tenants with a Notice provided by the Department of Public Health informing them of their legal rights and responsibilities. This notice may also be posted in a readily visible location, such as next to the mailboxes. 

Screens: Landlords are now required to install screens on all openable exterior windows from April 1 through October 31. 

Pests: Prior to each new tenancy, landlords will be required to inspect the property for pests. 

Garbage Collection: Landlords of all multi-unit dwellings are now required to provide receptacles and arrange for the collection of garbage.  

Landlords with specific questions about compliance with the State Sanitary Code should speak with their attorney for guidance.