The Certified Massachusetts Landlord™: Quality Assurance through Voluntary Certification

Renters know that finding a nice place to call home is only half the battle: the person managing the property can make or break a resident’s rental experience. Unfortunately, even if a renter finds a place through a broker, third parties typically do not vouch for or certify housing providers. It’s hard to know who’s a good landlord and who is going to ignore calls, let the place fall apart and ignore best practices (or worse, the law).

Our Certified Massachusetts Landlords™ promise to uphold our Best Practices. No slumlords here!
Image credit: CC-by SA 4 MassLandlords

To address that problem, in 2019 we created the Certified Massachusetts Landlord™, a system of voluntary certification. Certified landlords have high standards and utilize best practices to ensure renting from them is a positive experience. These landlords know the law, and they’re committed to upholding it.

The First Program of Its Kind

As far as we know, the MassLandlords voluntary certification program for rental-property owners and managers is the first state-based system in the country, one tailored to the unique legal landscape of Massachusetts.

We're the Leader in Rental Housing Best Practices

We know how to reach and train landlords. By keeping the program voluntary, we sustain the low-barrier-to-entry approach. By providing on-the-job training that people want, we have enormous reach. More than 300,000 unique visitors a year read our website. Thousands participate in our interactive events each year, including our comprehensive “crash course”. And all of these free and paid services feed into the logical conclusion: “Now that I've invested the time, let me just get certified.”

No Slumlords Here

MassLandlords members who opt to become provisionally certified at Level One agree to follow certain best practices for housing providers. The second and third levels of non-provisional certification involve passing an online test of legal competence and attending continuing education events.

The landlords who go the extra mile to complete certification are committed to being the best landlords they can be and finding the best tenants they can. They’re proud of their rentals and want their renters to know it. These landlords want the rental experience to be good for everyone involved.

In a nutshell, renters who rent from a Certified Massachusetts Landlord™ can expect better rental housing.

MassLandlords keeps a database of our certified landlords to help renters get started finding their ideal rental.

A Certified Massachusetts Landlord™ is Committed to Doing the Right Thing

MassLandlords members who opt to become provisionally certified at Level One agree to follow certain best practices for housing providers. That provisional certification is good for 18 months, at which point they must progress to cML Level 2™ or lose their certification.

These “best practices” encompass everything from embracing fair housing practices when choosing a tenant to knowing the best way to perform repairs and maintenance around a rental unit (and when to call in a licensed professional). Our cML Level 1™ landlords know how to talk to their tenants, how to handle rent collection and how to fairly work out disagreements.

A Certified Massachusetts Landlord™ Must Pass a Test

Attaining the second and third levels of non-provisional certification require a larger commitment, of both study and time.

To reach the second level, landlords must pass an online test of legal competence. This test requires that landlords understand the law, best practices and practical applications of knowledge, among other subject areas. This is a permanent certification, but cML Level 2™ landlords are encouraged to strive for the next level.

The third level requires hours of continuing education, with landlords attending informational events to keep on top of ever-changing laws and regulations, as well as best practices. To retain cML Level 3™ status, landlords must attain 10 hours of continuing education credit over the course of each year.

Renters Can Report a Bad Landlord

Typically, if renters have an issue with their landlord, they have to contact the Board of Health. However, Certified Massachusetts Landlords™ also answer to MassLandlords, and can lose their certification if renters report infractions. Certified landlords commit to doing the right thing, but if that doesn’t happen, their renters can fill out this compliance report form and let us know.


Finding the right place to rent can be a time-consuming process with a lot of things to consider. Knowing whether your landlord is committed to doing the right thing shouldn’t be something you have to worry about. Take the guesswork out of the equation by starting with one of our endorsed landlords and “Rent Certified”!

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