Category Archives: Landlord – Tenant Law

Massachusetts Statue of Frauds

Massachusetts Statue of Frauds

M.G.L. Ch 259, S.1

No action shall be brought:

First, To charge an executor or administrator, or an assignee under an insolvent law of the commonwealth, upon a special promise to answer damages out of his own estate;

Second, To charge a person upon a special promise to answer for the debt, default or misdoings of another;

Third, Upon an agreement made upon consideration of marriage;

Fourth, Upon a contract for the sale of lands, tenements or hereditaments or of any interest in or concerning them; or,

Fifth, Upon an agreement that is not to be performed within one year from the making thereof;

Unless the promise, contract or agreement upon which such action is brought, or some memorandum or note thereof, is in writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith or by some person thereunto by him lawfully authorized.

Leave a comment

Filed under Landlord - Tenant Law

Alpha Management and Anwar Faisal – Boston’s worst landlord?

Alpha Management

Thousand of Units, Many Complaints

  • New: “…a litany of alarming violations, the city has condemned a Fenway apartment unit owned by a landlord who has repeatedly drawn complaints and fines…the unit that had been rented to a Northeastern University student, city inspectors found evidence of roaches, grime-caked walls and ceilings, exposed wires, and rusty pipes… had no windows or other source of ventilation, no working carbon monoxide detector, and no emergency lighting.” Boston Globe, City condemns Fenway apartment that problem landlord rented to Northeastern student
  • “‘We’ve had a problem with Anwar Faisal and his company’s noncompliance with our rental ordinance.”  Id. 
  • “This is probably one of the worst cases, but the issues we’ve had with him have been systematic.” Id.
  • “Faisal’s company, Alpha Management, owns thousands of units. In just over a year-and-a-half, 73 complaints were filed against Alpha Management.” WBZ,Landlord’s Units Said To Be In Disrepair.”

Greed

  • “Rent from Faisal’s buildings helped him buy a sprawling $6 million property in one of Brookline’s most exclusive neighborhoods.” Id.
  • “He said he has a least 5,000 tenants, but didn’t know exactly how many units he owns.”  Id.
  • Faisal’s Malden tenants formed a union to fight “22%-58% rent increases.” Malden Patch.

A History of Labor Violations

  • “The Wage and Hour Division’s Boston District Office found that the company and Faisal violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by misclassifying 42 workers as independent contractors and employing them for more than 40 hours per workweek without paying overtime for the excess hours.” Press Release here.

Yelp Complaints

  • “Bottom line is, look up Alpha Management  and read all the reviews…” them!” Yelp.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Class Action Investigations, Landlord - Tenant Law

Broad Street Associates v. Stephen Levine

Related posts: Apartment Amenity and Move In Fee Class Action Investigation, Equity Residential Hit With Class Action Lawsuit 

According to this decision, it is unlawful for residential landlords to charge application fees in Massachusetts.  Application fees are just one of the illegal fees that are often imposed on tenants such as up front  “move in fees,” “amenity fees,” or “pet fees.” 

Legal Issues:

1. Is charging pet rent legal in Massachusetts?

2. Is charging an up-front pet deposit or pet fee at the beginning of the tenancy legal in Massachusetts?

3. Can a Massachusetts landlord legally charge an application fee?

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS NORTHEAST HOUSING COURT

BROAD STREET ASSOCIATES v. STEPHEN LEVINE

No. 12-SP-2041

DECISION AND ORDER

On July 1, 2010, the tenant paid the landlord a $45 application fee, and on July 7, 2010, paid a $1,000 security deposit and $1,000 first month’s rent. Thereafter, the tenant paid $1,000 monthly rents and $50 per month “pet fees under three successive Leases and two successive Pet Agreements. Disputes arose between the parties, chiefly about roof leaks and related housing defects and conditions of disrepair.  The tenant withheld his rent and stopped paying the pet fees. The landlord responded by bringing this summary process case for nonpayment of rent.

1. The landlord complied with the. bank deposit and receipt requirements of the Security Deposit Law, Gen.L. c.186 §15B(2) (b) , (c) , and (3) (a), with respect to the $1,000 security deposit.

2. The landlord did not comply with the five-percent interest requirement of the Security Deposit Law, Gen.L. c.186 §15B(3){b). The tenant is entitled to payment of or credit for the $103.21 interest accrued on the security deposit.

3.  The landlord violated the excess payments requirement of the Security Deposit Law, Gen.L. c.186 §15B(1) (b) , by requiring the tenant (then a prospective tenant) to pay the $45 application fee. The tenant is entitled to return of or credit for the $45 application fee. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Class Action Investigations, Landlord - Tenant Law

Amenity & Move In Fee Class Action Investigation

Consumer Alert: Some Massachusetts Residential Landlords Routinely Violate the Law by Collecting Unlawful Move In or Amenity Fees!

  • Have you been charged an “Amenity Fee”?
  • Have you been been charged a “Move in Fee”?

If so, those fees may have been collected illegally from you! Numerous large apartment buildings in Massachusetts require tenants to pay illegal fees to move in.  If you want to talk to an attorney about your rights in regards to security deposit violations, or unlawful move in /amenity fees, please call me at (617)329-1295.

Boston Skyline - Charles River from Mass Ave. Bridge - Smoot 100

1 Comment

Filed under Class Action Investigations, Landlord - Tenant Law

Massachusetts Residential Lease Security Deposit Damages in a Nutshell

The Leonard Law Office, LLP accepts Massachusetts security deposit cases.  If you have a question about a security deposit issue, you are welcome to contact us.

*     *     *     *

If the Landlord Fails:

  • to deposit the security deposit in an escrow account; or
  • to return the security deposit (or balance after lawful deductions) with accrued interest within 30 days after termination of tenancy; or
  • to pay interest on last month’s rent within 30 days termination of tenancy; or
  • to transfer the security deposit or last month’s rent to the new landlord if the building is sold,

Then you are entitled to TRIPLE damages, plus court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

If the Landlord:

  • uses a lease containing provisions that conflict with the security deposit law and attempts to enforce these provisions or attempts to get you to sign a waiver of rights; or
  • fails to provide you with an itemized list of damages within 30 days after termination of tenancy if deductions are made for damages; or
  • fails to make the security deposit records available for inspection during office hours; or
  • fails to provide, within 30 days of receipt of the deposit, another receipt with name and location of bank and amount and account # of deposit,

Then you are entitled to the IMMEDIATE RETURN of your security deposit. The landlord cannot keep your security deposit for any reason, including making deductions for damage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Landlord - Tenant Law, Practice Areas

Denava v. Reilly

DENAVA vs. REILLY, 2011 Mass. App. Div. 127, June 13, 2011.

Residential landlord’s failure to provide tenant with statement of condition of leased premises at commencement of lease, to place $500 security deposit in escrow in interest-bearing account and inform tenant of bank holding money, and failure to return deposit within 30 days after end of tenancy, violated security deposit law, and thus tenant was entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees, triple damages, plus interest under M.G.L. c. 186, § 15B.

Leave a comment

Filed under Landlord - Tenant Law

Masschusetts Law on Landlords Taking Last Month’s Rent in Advance:

Summary of the law on last month’s rent In Massachusetts:

  • The amount of the last month’s rent must be the same as the first month’s rent.
  • Landlords have to give a proper receipt if they take last month’s rent in advance.
  • Landlords are required to pay interest on last month’s rent collected in advace, and if they don’t they can be forced to pay triple the amount of interest due, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

M.G.L. ch. 186 s. 15(B)(2)(a)

“Any lessor or his agent who receives, at or prior to the commencement of a tenancy, rent in advance for the last month of the tenancy from a tenant or prospective tenant shall give to such tenant or prospective tenant at the time of such advance payment a receipt indicating the amount of such rent, the date on which it was received, its intended application as rent for the last month of the tenancy, the name of the person receiving it and, in the case of an agent, the name of the lessor for whom the rent is received, and a description of the rented or leased premises, and a statement indicating that the tenant is entitled to interest on said rent payment Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Landlord - Tenant Law, Uncategorized

If a landlord violates the Massachusetts security deposit law, (M.G.L. ch. 186 s. 15b) can there also be a 93A claim?

Yes, landlords who violate ch. 186 s. 15b may also be held to violate ch. 93A.  In McGrath v. Mishara, 386 Mass. 74, 434 N.E.2d 1215 (1982) the court reasoned, “[o]ur review of the statutory provisions discloses no error in the judge’s conclusion that the tenants had causes of actions in based on General Laws Chapter 186 Section 15B … and M.G.L.A. Chapter 93A. The mere fact that these statutes contains some overlapping prohibitions and remedies does not establish a legislative intent to preclude their concurrent application.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Landlord - Tenant Law

Does a landlord have to give a receipt for a security deposit?

Yes.  First, a landlord must provide a receipt for a security deposit at the time they take it.   That receipt must identify the amount, the date, the premises, and the landlord’s name.   M.G.L. c. 186, § 15B(2)(b).

Then, within thirty days, the landlord must give a receipt identifying the name, location, and account number of the bank holding the security deposit.  The bank account the landlord sets up to hold the tenant’s security deposit must be a  “separate, interest-bearing account in a bank, located within the Commonwealth.” M.G.L. c. 186, § 15B(3)(a).  The remedy for a landlord’s failure to establish an appropriate account and/or failing to give the tenant a receipt indicating the banking information,  is that the tenant is immediately entitled to the return of their security deposit.

Leave a comment

Filed under Landlord - Tenant Law, Uncategorized