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Tenant Rights in Boston

From the moment they fill out a rental application, a prospective tenant enters what is a highly regulated relationship with the landlord. Sadly, most tenants don't know their rights. If, for example, your application to rent an apartment is rejected, you have a right to know why. It is illegal for a landlord to refuse your rental application for discriminatory reasons.

Further, tenants often have extra rights under the laws of their state and even the city. Tenants are also protected from various kind of false advertisements, illegal evictions, and can assert certain rights with respect to security deposits and even pets. The best place to learn more about your rights as a tenant is a Boston Real Estate lawyer.

Recently in Tenant 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:

Are Married Couples Joint Tenants?

Property ownership in Massachusetts is a confounding matter for many married couples. As you may know, Massachusetts is not a community property state. For that reason, it's not easily presumed that a property purchased by a husband and wife together would enjoy a 50/50 split in property interest.

To protect you and your spouse's property interest, you may want to look into a joint tenancy.

7 Key Provisions in a Lease

Boston has a notoriously tough rental market. Landlords often seek as many concessions as possible and may include unreasonable terms in the lease.

As a result, you will need to read every provision in your lease very carefully prior to signing.

Here are seven key provisions in your lease that you will need to pay attention to:

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.

8 Things to Know Before Signing a Lease in Massachusetts

If you're entering into a residential lease, it may be worth it to enter into a written lease. While many landlords still go by oral or unwritten leases, a written one will guarantee you certain protections.

You might not always want to get a lawyer to review your lease. But if you opt for reviewing your lease without the help of a real estate lawyer, here are a few things you should know:

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:

Boston Cleans Up Vermin Problem in Public Housing

There's something to be said for improving housing conditions. The city of Boston cleaned up its public housing and as a result, incidents of asthma have gone down, reports The Boston Globe.

Back in 2005, the Boston Public Health Commission joined forces with the city's housing authority, targeting the city's public housing. The joint task force aimed to clean up the public housing, ridding units of roaches, rodents and other vermin.

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.

Hurricane Sandy: What to Do if Your Apartment Floods

As Hurricane Sandy batters the east coast, property damage becomes an increasingly important point of discussion.

What happens if your property suffers structural or water damage as the result of Hurricane Sandy?

We'll address this question from two angles: The homeowner and the renter.

Strong hurricanes are not too common along the Northeastern Seaboard. But that doesn't mean that they're nonexistent. As of Monday morning, Hurricane Sandy was being declared a Category 1 hurricane moving at 18 mph, with winds at 75 mph, according to The Associated Press.

The storm is expected to collide with a winter storm as well, potentially bringing ice and snow across the region.

President Obama has already declared an emergency in Massachusetts, freeing up federal relief funds.

Colonial Theatre Could Open Oct 24 With Show for Elizabeth Warren

Boston’s Colonial Theatre is talking about reopening its doors, reports The Boston Globe.

According to Josiah A. Spaulding Jr., Chief Executive Officer of the Citi Performing Arts Center, the Center has requested an entertainment license from the city, in order for the Theatre to resume business.

The Colonial Theatre was closed in July 2011 after negotiations between the theater’s owner and Broadway in Boston didn’t pan out, reports the Boston Herald.