The applicable regulation is 105 CMR 410, the Minimum Standards of Fitness for Human Habitation (aka State Sanitary Code). The quickest way to answer whether landlords have to provide window coverings is to view the regulation electronically and “find in file” for relevant keywords.
At first glance, it would appear that window coverings are not required. The word “covering” appears five times, but only in the context of floors, walls, and asbestos. The words “blind,” “shade,” and “curtain” do not appear at all.
The word “window” appears 29 times. To be sure window coverings are not mentioned, we should reach each section related to windows. We will learn other useful things along the way.
Windows Defined (Instances 1-3)
The first three instances are definitions of what constitutes a window.
Windows for Ventilation (4-22)
Each habitable room must have a window, skylight, door or transom for ventilation that must open to 4% of the floor area. Skylights where it could rain into the building don’t count.
These windows must be lockable, weather-proof, and rodent-proof.
Weatherproofing is defined extensively in terms of caulking and cracks, but there is no mention of window coverings.
Tenant Must Take Care of Windows (23)
The tenant must exercise reasonable care in using the windows.
Windows Need Screens (24-27)
The owner must provide window screens for the first four floors, and these must be insect and rodent-proof.
Windows Are to be Inspected (28-29)
The final instances of the word “window” are in the sample checklist at the end of the code.
Remember that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The State Sanitary Code doesn’t say landlords have to provide window coverings, but you may need to ask your local municipality or check another source.
Remember also that just because it’s not the law, doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea!
So, do landlords need to provide window coverings in Massachusetts? Probably not. Let us know if you disagree by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
105 CMR 410: http://clickmeterlink.com/105cmr410