Tenant Law in Massachusetts
Relations between tenants and landlords in Lancaster, Massachusetts can occasionally be touchy. The fact is that it's not easy to be a landlord or a tenant, particularly because landlords and tenants often don't understand the legal rights and responsibilities that apply to them.
There are numerous 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 Lancaster, 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 normally able to evict the tenant without too much trouble, though the process can sometimes get fairly complicated.
Additionally, landlords have a right to be compensated for damage a tenant causes to a rented unit, either intentionally or negligently. Landlords have a right to deduct repair costs from tenants' security deposits, unless the damage was caused by usual wear and tear, for which tenants are not responsible.
Tenant's Rights in Lancaster, 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 present. Landlords in Lancaster, Massachusetts are under a legal duty to make sure that their apartments are habitable. There are numerous factors that are considered in deciding 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).
Furthermore, 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 Lancaster, Massachusetts, these areas must be kept in a safe condition, at the landlord's expense.
A tenant also has a right, under federal law and the laws of Massachusetts to be free from discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, or gender. Landlords can additionally not discriminate against persons with disabilities, and must make reasonable accommodations for those disabilities.
And lastly, most state laws prevent landlords from arbitrarily evicting tenants. If the lease agreement is for a set period of time, the landlord usually can't evict the tenant until the lease expires, without a good reason. Valid causes for eviction include unpaid rent, illegal activities on the property, damage to the building caused by the tenant, and excessive noise.
Can a Lancaster, Massachusetts Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants typically prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for noticeable reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Lancaster, Massachusetts landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.