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To the Editor:

I have read Michelle Williams’s excellent article on the landlord-tenant seminar (May 31, “Martha’s Vineyard attorney tells landlords law favors tenants“). It is difficult to summarize a long presentation in a short article, and through no fault of hers, the article may be misleading to those who did not attend the seminar. I can’t provide a complete transcript of the presentation, but I would like to clarify one particular point.

As I explained in the seminar, most short-term vacation rentals are not subject to the security deposit law. The security deposit statute, M.G.L. 186 section 15B, states, “The provisions of this section shall not apply to any lease, rental, occupancy or tenancy of one hundred days or less in duration which lease or rental is for a vacation or recreational purpose.” Note, however, that residential tenancies (as opposed to rentals for vacation or recreational purposes) are subject to the law, irrespective of length.

A considerable amount of information is available through the free pamphlets published by the state, which may be obtained at the courthouse. They may also be viewed online for free, at

Erik Hammarlund

West Tisbury