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I'm planning on renting an apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The realtor says that to "hold the apartment" I need to pay 1st month's rent along with my rental application and proof of income.

It is unclear if this is refundable or not.

At the time of lease signing, the security deposit and brokers fee will be due as well.

Is this first payment considered an application fee since it is being charged at the time of application, even though 1st month's rent is often legally required at the time of signing?

I've heard and read that application fees are illegal in Mass, but can't find the relevant statute. The first link below seems to answer for the City of Boston, but I'm looking in the City of Cambridge, and I'm not sure if this is a city ordinance or state law.

https://www.boston.gov/departments/neighborhood-development/know-your-rights-when-you-rent-boston

https://www2.cambridgema.gov/CityOfCambridge_Content/documents/Smart_Consumer_Practices_For_Tenants.pdf

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A broker can charge fees and a lessor can not. https://masslandlords.net/can-massachusetts-landlords-charge-an-application-fee/

That's why it says broker next to the fee part.

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