cML Level Two Test

Certified Massachusetts Landlord Level Two Test

This page is the start of the official MassLandlords Test for owners and managers of residential rental real estate in Massachusetts.

You must become a Certified Massachusetts Landlord Level One™ before you can take the test. Become Level One.

Test Instructions

Please read these instructions carefully:

This test consists of four modules. A passing score on all modules is necessary for the Level Two certification. Level Two certification will be applied to your profile immediately upon passing all required modules. This certification applies to individuals. Do not take this test in collaboration with anyone else.

This test is adaptive. Time to complete a module will vary but will in no circumstance take longer than 40 minutes. Answer a question right and you may get a harder question. Answer one wrong and your next question may be easier. The time to determine a passing ability will vary by examinee. If the test has not determined a pass/fail after 40 minutes, the exam will end with a fail.

You will have 90 seconds for each question. If you fail to answer a question within the time allotted, the next question will be shown. If you fail to answer five questions in a row, the exam will end with a fail.

Failures will not be public.

The test is "open book" in the sense that you can try to search our site for the correct answers. You will likely not pass if you need to search. Do not close or refresh your test window once you begin or you will have to start over. Recommendation: rely on your experience, not Google.

If you fail a module, you can immediately retake. The current version of this test will not give guidance on which questions or topic areas you failed. The most important topic areas to focus on are indicated below under each module. All knowledge required to pass can be learned at MassLandlords.net or by attending our educational events. A comprehensive review of relevant material is given in the Crash Course.

THIS TEST IS COPYRIGHT MASSLANDLORDS, INC. YOU CANNOT COPY, RECORD, DISTRIBUTE, OR BUILD ON THESE TEST QUESTIONS OR THE ANSWERS WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM MASSLANDLORDS. KEEP OUR CERTIFICATION MEANINGFUL AND DO NOT GIVE TEST MATERIAL TO OTHERS.

How Test Scores Work

Examinee ability ranges from roughly -3 (not a landlord yet) to +3 (highly experienced landlord).

Test scores appearing below contain two components:

 

  • An estimate of your landlording ability (θ); and
  • The standard error of this estimate (SE).

 

The test stops either when you run out of time or the change in standard error becomes small, such that asking additional questions gives no new information.

To pass, your ability must be measured above θ = 0.3 with 95% confidence (your θ must be at least 2 SEs above 0.3).

The Four Test Modules

There are four test modules. You must pass all four modules to be recognized as a Certified Massachusetts Landlord Level Two™. You may attempt the modules in any order. You may wait any length of time between modules or retakes. Once you pass all four modules, your Level Two certification becomes permanent as long as you continue to remain a member in good standing.

The four modules parallel the four commitment areas in the Certified Massachusetts Landlord Level One™ Best Practices. In no particular order, they are:

 

Before attempting any module, become familiar with the concept groups being tested in that module:

1. Talk to Tenants

How to avoid discrimination on the basis of ancestry.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of current service in the armed forces.
How to build a small (or bigger) business brand.
How to close new tenants and remarket to existing tenants.
How to avoid business policies having a disparate impact.
How to use eviction records to screen applicants fairly.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of genetic information.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of marital status.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of sex.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of veteran status.
How to write an appealing advertisement.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of family status (children).
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of national origin.
Whether and how to manage animals including pets, service animals, and assistance animals may bring.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of age.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of religion.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of public assistance.
How to avoid discriminatory steering.
How to evaluate a rental application.
Which market are you in (college, working class, luxury, etc.)
How to manage applicants or leads for an apartment listing.
How to use criminal and sex offense history to screen applicants fairly.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of race and color.
Why avoiding unlawful discrimination is good.
How to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, including physical and intellectual impairment, including service and assistance animals.
How to use credit scores to screen applicants fairly.

You may now take the "Talk to Tenants" module.



Launch Test Module "Talk to Tenants"

Module One Score

Most Recent Attempt:

  • Your Estimated Ability (θ):
  • The Standard Error (SE) of this estimate:

High Score:

  • Your Estimated Ability (θ):
  • The Standard Error (SE) of this estimate:

2. Maintain Buildings

What constitutes a serious (expensive) building problem vs. what is cosmetic (inexpensive).
Whether a particular renovation requires a license, permit, registration, review, or zoning variance.
How to inspect a unit and when the municipality may do so.
How many people can live in a unit.
How to decide whether an item should be cleaned or replaced.
Federal Repair, Renovate, and Paint (RRP) regulations on disturbing surfaces containing lead paint.
How to charge for utilities.
Which amenities may be desirable.
How to prevent fires and ensure safe egress.
Which materials should be chosen for rental apartment renovations.
Which locations are the best sited for a long-term investment.
What constitutes good vs. poor indoor air quality and what to do about it.
Which facilities are required for cooking.
How to exterminate or exclude to keep the premises free of vermin and wildlife.
How to deliver compliant heat and hot water.
Whether and how to submeter water.
Basic, practical knowledge of how plumbing works and how malfunctions can cause illness.
Basic, practical knowledge of how electricity works and how malfunctions can be dangerous.
How to comply with the state sanitary code.
What constitutes a lead hazard, and whether and how to mitigate it.
How to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

You may now take the "Maintain Buildings" module.



Launch Test Module "Maintain Buildings"

Module Two Score

Most Recent Attempt:

  • Your Estimated Ability (θ):
  • The Standard Error (SE) of this estimate:

High Score:

  • Your Estimated Ability (θ):
  • The Standard Error (SE) of this estimate:

3. Be Part of the Community

How to support MassLandlords and our mission.
How to avoid negative attention by avoiding stereotypical "bad landlord" behavior, including flaunting income inequality or wealth.
How to help renters get fuel assistance to pay for heat, if needed.
How to fairly consider applicants using HomeBASE to exit shelter.
What it means for a property to have an acceptable exterior appearance.
Which type of legal entity your business uses and which types are available.
How to manage your business or hire a manager.
How to prevent noise from impacting other renters or neighbors.
How to collect rent on time.
How to obtain supportive services for a renter who can no longer live on their own through the Tenancy Preservation Program.
Whether and how to raise the rent.
How to fairly consider applicants using permanent supportive subsidy like Section 8, MRVP, and HUD VASH, and how to comply with inspections.
How to fairly consider applicants using temporary subsidy including RAFT, ERMA, and ERAP, and how to comply with applications for this subsidy.
How to fairly consider applicants using short- or long-term income assistance, including SSI/SSD, WIC, and SNAP.
How to mediate and resolve disputes outside of court, including principled negotiation techniques.
How to keep records that prove you are a good landlord.

You may now take the "Be Part of the Community" module.



Launch Test Module "Be Part of the Community"

Module Three Score

Most Recent Attempt:

  • Your Estimated Ability (θ):
  • The Standard Error (SE) of this estimate:

High Score:

  • Your Estimated Ability (θ):
  • The Standard Error (SE) of this estimate:

4. Follow the Law

Whether and how to take last month's rent in advance.
Whether and how to remove a tenant's belongings from the rented premises, and the restrictions of the move-and-store law.
Whether and how to take move-in monies in general.
How and when a renter may withhold rent for bad conditions or deduct from rent for repairs.
How repairs are treated separately from improvements for tax purposes.
How rent control is allowed in Massachusetts if a town or city reimburses the landlord (Chapter 40P).
How short-term rentals required registration and are taxed.
What to do when a renter appears to have abandoned the premises but hasn't told you.
Whether and how to charge a late fee.
How to avoid retaliation if renters organize, call the city, or otherwise exert their rights.
Which types of tenancies are there.
How to obtain a legally binding non-court agreement to terminate a tenancy.
How to terminate a tenancy by serving a notice to quit.
Whether and how to take a security deposit.
How the courts handle the eviction process a.k.a. summary process.
What it means to have an unfair or deceptive practice and how to avoid it.

You may now take the "Follow the Law" module.



Launch Test Module "Follow the Law"

Module Four Score

Most Recent Attempt:

  • Your Estimated Ability (θ):
  • The Standard Error (SE) of this estimate:

High Score:

  • Your Estimated Ability (θ):
  • The Standard Error (SE) of this estimate:

Test FAQ

Q: This test is subjective!

A: The questions about management best practice and conflict resolution are necessarily subjective. But there is an intended "best answer" that avoids unlawful or undesirable consequences either for you, your renter, or society. Try to answer the question in the way you think we would teach people at a public event.

Q: Why are these questions so easy! Or so hard!

A: This test is adaptive, but in order to facilitate retakes we have implemented slight randomization. You will experience questions that are far above or below your ability level.

Q: There is no right answer! What do I do?

A: Leave us feedback on that specific question right in the exam. It is most likely that you are interpreting the question in a way that we did not consider, and that this question will have to be rewritten.

Q: Why do I need to know about XYZ? I don't do XYZ.

A: Because our certification is granted without caveat, we need to be able to attest to your likely skill with any number of situations. This means even if you don't have any buildings built before 1978, we still need to test you about lead paint; after all, you might advise someone who has such a building, or might acquire such a building yourself in the future.

Q: I got an error and the test crashed. What do I do now?

A: We believed we had eliminated all known sources of test crashes when we launched. If not, email us at hello@masslandlords.net with the time of your exam from the email address you used to log in. You will have to retake that module.

Q: Who came up with this test?

A: This test and the bank of test questions is the result of the work of dozens of volunteers and staff beginning in 2019.

Q: What software are you using?

A: We have developed our own implementation of the Concerto computer adaptive testing platform. As of 2021, items are modeled using a one parameter logistic model.

Q: I don't understand how the scores work.

A: The score explanation may not be easily understood without a statistics background. It is there primarily to indicate that we are using a rigorous methodology. For a full explanation, see Frank B. Baker's The Basics of Item Response Theory, ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation, 2001.

Your score in a computer adaptive test (theta) is an estimate of your ability. Your ability can be compared against others' by comparing their theta against yours. But we pass examinees on the basis of absolute performance as measured against the test. We do not compare landlords against one another or fit to a "curve." Each question is designed to be of a certain difficulty. Easy questions must be answered correctly to pass. If hard questions are answered correctly, you may pass sooner.

We don't know exactly what your ability is, we can only estimate. The standard error describes our uncertainty in the estimate of your ability.

A score of 1.5 with a SE of 0.3 is equivalent to saying, "We're 95% sure your ability is between 0.9 and 2.1." We are rounding, but in essence: two standard errors in either direction encompass 95% of the estimates of your ability.

A score of 0.7 with a SE of 0.1 is equivalent to saying, "We're 95% sure your ability is between 0.5 and 0.9."

A lower standard error means a more precise estimate. A higher theta means a better score.

In order to pass, we have to be sure that our uncertainty (your error bars) only encompass abilities that are "good enough." If your ability could be not good enough, you will be asked to retake the test until either your ability is estimated higher or the uncertainty is lower, or both.

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