MassLandlords is a 501(c)6 nonprofit trade association. This means no one owns MassLandlords. We exist for the benefit of member businesses. By joining MassLandlords you not only benefit but can also help determine the direction of the association through our democratically elected Board of Directors and our ongoing Policy Priorities Survey.
Who Can Join MassLandlords?
Per our bylaws, MassLandlords membership is open to individuals who own or manage rental housing in Massachusetts or provide services to those who do. Landlords, plumbers, property managers, attorneys, housing authorities, service coordinators and many others are welcome to join!
Per a Board Resolution dated July 9, 2021, membership dues can be paid by an individual or a business. If a business pays dues, then anyone added as a “business member” is counted as a MassLandlords member, with no additional dues required. See below for “Business Memberships.”
How much does Membership Cost?
If you own or manage rental housing, or intend to, then dues are a “base” price plus a “per unit” component.
Yes, you can join even if you are a prospective landlord! Enter zero units owned and managed.
If you provide services, then dues are paid via an “affiliate” membership. Affiliate memberships do not come with landlord-specific benefits (e.g., no rental forms).
Affiliate membership is currently shown as an affordable advertising option. It is not necessary to want to advertise to become an affiliate member.
Our prices index to inflation (CPI-W), so check the links above for the latest prices.
Are Dues Tax Deductible?
Generally yes, dues are usually 100% tax deductible as a business expense. Year 2018 changes reduced the deductibility of professional association and union dues; these may be restored in future. Don't deduct MassLandlords dues as union dues. Deduct our dues as a business expense (typically "training and seminars" will describe the ordinary and necessary business purpose). Always consult with your accountant.
Other organizations that influence legislation may not be able to say their dues are 100% tax deductible. To say dues are 100% deductible, such an organization must file form 990-T and pay what is commonly referred to as a "proxy tax." MassLandlords, Inc. files 990-T and pays all required proxy tax so you don't have to.
What Happens if I Join and Then My Membership Lapses?
Membership dues are required to be paid in full before your expiration date. If we have not received a payment before that date, your membership will lapse and services will cease.
Do I have to become a Certified Massachusetts Landlord?
No, but you should not join MassLandlords unless you support our mission to create better rental housing. We strongly encourage you to work toward your certification, as it will benefit us, you, tenants and rental housing in general.
How do Business Memberships Work?
A business is loosely defined to fit a variety of different situations. The following all count as businesses:
- You are a sole proprietor.
- You and a family member, spouse, or partner work together without an entity.
- You have an LLC or an entity.
- You have multiple LLCs, trusts, or other entities, each owning or responsible for different parts of an operation under shared control or ownership.
If your business joins as a member, then one set of dues covering all units owned or managed will allow you to add any number of team members. You can add:
- Your spouse, partner, or family.
- Your LLC manager or other team members who work for you, whether 1099 or W-2.
- The managers or other team members who work for controlled entities like sub-LLCs.
Each person added will receive full MassLandlords benefits. Each will count as a member. Your entire business will have one vote in elections for the Board of Directors. When allocating resources per our Policy Priorities Survey, we may weight votes based on units owned or managed, depending on the type of issue we are considering working.
The following are not businesses for the purpose of collective dues:
- Other groups of landlords. Each landlording business must pay dues on their own.
- Groups of unrelated entities or individuals. There must be a common thread like joint ownership, shared team members, or shared family or relationship status.
Can I Buy Multiple Business Memberships for Multiple LLCs?
Yes, but you should not buy multiple memberships if your LLCs are all under shared control or ownership. See previous FAQ. You would be paying multiple sets of base dues.
How Can I add a Business Member to my Business Account?
Eventually the website will facilitate this. For now, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name and email address of the team members you wish to add.
Why Don’t Managers Pay Lower Dues than Owners?
To continue the question: A manager’s revenue is expected to be lower than an owner’s. Property managers are typically paid as a percentage of owner revenue, through fixed fees, or by collecting a month’s rent at turnover. Shouldn’t a manager pay less for dues than an owner?
Owners typically have high fixed costs that scale with the number of units. These include mortgage, taxes, insurance, and repairs for each unit. Managers typically have only one fixed cost (their own rent or mortgage, taxes, insurance, and repairs for their office). Manager fixed costs do not scale with the number of units.
For this reason, although manager dues may be higher than an owner’s as a percentage of revenue, manager dues may be lower than an owner’s as a percent of net income.
If you feel the price of your dues is not justified for your particular business, submit a hardship waiver, see elsewhere in this article.
Can I Pay Dues Monthly to Manage Cashflow?
Not currently. If you strongly prefer to pay monthly, please email us at email@example.com, subject: “Vote for monthly billing.” We can redevelop our accounting processes if enough members request it.
What if I can’t afford Membership Dues? (Hardship Waiver)
Our membership benefits are designed to be highly valuable for all owners regardless of size. That said, there are several reasons why dues may be unaffordable. These are the recognized hardships with which we can help:
- Help me raise my rents to market (I’m well below market).
- Help me to deal with nonpayment or other issues threatening a tenancy (I think I need to evict).
- Help me deal with a difficult tenant situation, but I shouldn't have to evict.
- Help me sell one or more properties.
- Help me to make needed repairs I can’t afford.
To qualify for reduced dues, you must agree to a helpline intervention. Call 774-314-1896 and leave a voicemail asking for help with a hardship waiver. We will collect information about your situation. A team member or a helpline counselor will determine whether MassLandlords membership would be beneficial and can make the determination about granting a hardship waiver.
Please note that the hardship waiver intake call is not a helpline session, even though a helpline counselor may conduct the call.
Are Dues Refundable?
We monitor engagement with the site, especially our downloadable rental forms. Since the forms are an information product, we cannot differentiate between those who legitimately don’t want the forms from those who do but ask for a refund anyway. For this reason, requesting a refund after downloading a form at any time in your membership will result in your refund request being denied.
It is your responsibility to monitor and adjust your autorenew settings. If we have to cancel and refund an unwanted autorenew for you, an administrative holdback applies, see our terms.
Do I pay dues on commercial units?
No, MassLandlords focuses on residential rental units (housing) because this space is the most highly regulated. When entering units owned or managed, do not include commercial units.
What is the History of Dues Changes?
MassLandlords, Inc. legally is the same entity as the old Worcester Property Owners Association, Inc., originally incorporated in 1985. Since then we have restructured via new bylaws and processes and by incorporating other groups, but we have the same tax ID.
Dues for the WPOA were at some point “per unit.” For reasons lost to us, dues were switched from “per unit” to “per person.” Similar changes happened across the state except at the Rental Housing Association of Greater Springfield (RHAGS). RHAGS had a tiered pricing system based on units owned or managed.
When MassLandlords, Inc. took over the operations of RHAGS in 2016, the “per person” pricing was implemented. This was intended to simplify, but it substantially lowered the resources available for us to help members.
We are moving back to per unit pricing now that technology makes it easier to calculate and verify units owned and managed.
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