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Landlord Rights in Boston

Landlords have a very difficult job, because much of it involves making legal arrangements. From writing a lease, to escrowing security deposits, to the difference between proper and improper eviction, landlords see it all. Evictions, in particular, require following a proper legal procedure, as many states have modified their laws to make evictions more difficult.

Almost all of the situations landlords face cry out for involvement from a Boston Real Estate lawyer. This is particularly true because a legal mistake by a landlord can get punished in the courts, so it is always less time consuming and less expensive to ascertain your rights before a conflict, rather than after.

Recently in Landlord Rights in Boston:

When to Take a Tenant to Court

Although far from an ideal situation, there are certain situations when a landlord may find that he or she must take a tenant to court for eviction purposes.

In order to legally evict a tenant in Massachusetts, a landlord must properly terminate a tenancy and get permission from a court to legally take possession of the apartment.

Here are three common reasons to sue to evict a tenant:

A Primer on Different Types of Leases

There are many types of leases. Do you know which one you're getting yourself into?

While the majority of leases have standard provisons, there are additional things to look out for among the different types of leases.

The basic type of residential lease is the flat or fixed lease, where rent is fixed at a certain amount for a set period of time. This is the type of residential lease you'll typically see. It can be month-to-month or it can be fixed for a term of months.

New Mass. Domestic Violence Law Lets Victims Break Lease

Have you read the new Massachusetts Domestic Violence Act? If you're a landlord, you might want to take a close look at this new law.

The law provides victims of domestic violence the opportunity to break their lease and move out. Essentially, victims of sexual assault and stalking are allowed by law to break their lease and not incur much financial penalty.

They're also entitled to have the landlord change their locks.

Initially, the law was seen as detrimental to landlords, as the short notice on breaking a lease was criticized. As a result, the legislators included a three-month notice period.

Here are a few more key details on the law:

It's Hard Out There For a Landlord!

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

An interesting blog post in the 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, the tenants make trumped up charges and damage their apartments themselves to get a free ride.

How to Take Advantage of the Recovering Real Estate Market

There's been a lot of talk of economic recovery and more specifically the recovery of the housing market. But what does this all mean and where is the Boston housing market headed?

Interestingly, the recovery mirrors the recovery from the real estate depression of the late 1980's and early 1990's, writes The Boston Globe.

So now what does that mean?

Owner Occupied Dwellings on the Rise as Homeowners Turn Landlord

Here’s a good way to make some money while owning a home. Become a landlord. Rent out part of your home. Specifically, rent out a separate unit in your home.

According to The Boston Business Journal, many new homebuyers are looking at multi-family properties as a way of earning some extra cash. Essentially, these prospective homeowners are exploring the idea of living in a building while renting out the other units in the building.

Black Friday Liabilty for Property Owners, Not Just Retailers

This week, Black Friday is coming up and holiday shoppers couldn't be more excited.

While many states have begun opening doors on Thursday, Massachusetts law prohibits employees from working on Thanksgiving. So it's Black Friday and not "Black Thursday/Friday" in Massachusetts.

Smoking Bans in Apartments and Condos: Legal?

Smoking is a real health hazard. But for a landlord, is it legal to ban smoking inside apartments? Similarly, for condo associations, is it legal to ban smoking inside condo units?

According to a blog post on's real estate blog, more and more condo associations in the Boston area are trying to ban smoking inside individual units.

The reason that many condo associations are banning smoking is due to the fact that smoking is the cause of many fires, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Obama Slept in Somerville: Did He Fulfill Tenant's Duties?

Most people know that President Obama attended Harvard Law School (just like former Gov. Mitt Romney). However, what is not so well-known is that the president didn't stay in pricey Cambridge when he studied there, but instead looked to the more affordable (at the time) Somerville, according to the Boston Globe.

While rents have risen everywhere, you can still save hundreds a month by choosing to live in Somerville. Then-law student Barack Obama did so, but reporters and students have wondered: Did he pay his rent on time?

His former landlord says that he did. But along with paying rent, what other duties do tenants have?

Toxic Mold: Who's Responsible? Landlord or Tenant?

It's the question on every renter's mind: is it my landlord's fault? Sure, there are questions about paying rent and making sure the security deposit is repaid. But really, you are more concerned if you can get the landlord to make the place warmer, or cooler, or freshly painted.

One of those nagging questions comes up when there is the discovery of mold growing in the apartment. This is not to say you've left a slice of University Pizza in the fridge for too long and there is mold on it. That's your fault, you that forget to eat pizza. No, we are talking about toxic mold that grows where there is a lot of moisture in the house or apartment.

This mold can be found on wood or wallpaper, in the attic or in the basement, or under the kitchen sink. But who is responsible for cleaning it up?