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It's Hard Out There For a Landlord!

Landlords have many obligations vis-a-vis the tenant.

An interesting blog post in the Boston.com Real Estate Blog looks at whether Massachusetts landlords have it tough.

Here’s what the blog post says.

For starters, professional tenants have the ability to use health board complaints to cease paying rent. The problem with this loophole in the law is that many professional tenants play dirty and make fake claims. According to Boston.com, the tenants make trumped up charges and damage their apartments themselves to get a free ride.

Landlords in Massachusetts have obligations outlined in law. In addition to those issues mentioned in the Boston.com blog post, there are several other ones.

For one, Massachusetts landlords are obligated by law to pay for heating and water. This is by sole operation of the law, which means that if the lease is silent as to heating (we’ll discuss water later), then the landlord must pay.

If, however, the lease actually stipulates that the tenant must pay for heating, then the tenant must pay. Keep in mind that this lease provision must be clear to the tenant.

There’s more. If the landlord is providing the heat, then there are even rules as to how much the premises must be heated. From September 16 to June 14, every room must be heated to at least 68 degrees between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. The maximum heat during this season is 78 degrees.

As for water— the landlord’s duty to pay for water and sewer costs can’t even be negated through a lease. That means that even a lease provision that says that the water costs are the duty of the tenant can’t hold up. It’s void and unenforceable.

See? It’s hard out there for a landlord!

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