Tenant Law in Massachusetts
Relations between tenants and landlords in Arlington, Massachusetts can sometimes be touchy. The fact is that it's not easy to be a landlord or a tenant, especially because landlords and tenants often don't understand the legal rights and responsibilities that apply to them.
There are many rights and responsibilities that landlords and tenants have. It's important that each party is aware of their rights, and the rights of the other party. By knowing and respecting these rights, the risk of conflict should be reduced dramatically.
Landlord's Rights in Arlington, MA
Landlords are, of course, entitled to collect rent from their tenants. If a tenant fails to pay the agreed-upon rent, the landlord is typically able to evict the tenant without too much trouble, though the process can sometimes get fairly complicated.
Landlords also have a right to be free from damage to the rented unit. Tenants are expected not to damage their dwellings, intentionally or negligently. Landlords can deduct the cost of repairs from the tenant's security deposit. In general, tenants are not liable for damage resulting from ordinary wear and tear.
Tenant's Rights in Arlington, MA
The most basic right of a tenant is the right to a living space that's fit for human habitation. This is, after all, what they're paying the landlord to provide. Landlords in Arlington, Massachusetts are under a legal duty to make sure that their apartments are habitable. There are many factors that are considered in determining if an unit is habitable or not, but, generally, an unit will not be deemed habitable if it lacks any of the following: running water, electricity, heat, and protection from the elements (such as proper insulation, and windows that close).
Additionally, tenants have rights to common areas that are free of physical obstructions, as well as serious health and safety hazards. Common areas are the places in apartment buildings and other residential complexes which every tenant can access, and include hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes. In Arlington, Massachusetts, these areas must be kept in a safe condition, at the landlord's expense.
Tenants also have rights, under federal and Massachusetts law, to not be victims of racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination in housing, whether they are renting or buying. Furthermore, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on physical disabilities. They must also allow physically-disabled tenants to make reasonable modifications to the apartment to make it more accessible. However, the landlord can require tenants to remove those modifications and restore the property to its original condition once the tenant moves out.
Finally, tenants in most states have a right to be free from unfair eviction. Generally, lease agreements last for a set period of time, and both parties are bound by that contract. Landlords cannot arbitrarily evict clients while the lease is still in effect.
Can a Arlington, Massachusetts Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants almost always prefer to avoid conflict. In a perfect world, tenants would pay rent on time, and landlords would always provide the services that they're being paid for. As we know, the world isn't perfect. When circumstances demonstrate the world's imperfection, an Arlington, Massachusetts real estate attorney can help, whether you're a landlord or a tenant.