Tenant Law in Massachusetts
Relations between tenants and landlords in Plymouth, 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 several 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 Plymouth, 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 usually able to evict the tenant without too much trouble, though the process can sometimes get fairly complicated.
Landlords also have a right to be compensated for damage to the building that a tenant causes, either intentionally or negligently. Any damage caused by a tenant, besides reasonable wear and tear, can be billed, and the landlord can deduct from the tenant's security deposit to pay for repairs.
Tenant's Rights in Plymouth, MA
Most basically, tenants have a right to get what they're paying for: a dwelling fit for human habitation. To this end, landlords have to ensure that the units they rent meet Plymouth, Massachusetts's minimum standards for habitability. These requirements are normallyy not difficult to meet. They include basic amenities such as running water, electricity, a working phone line, heating, and protection from the elements.
Additionally, tenants are entitled to common areas which are reasonably safe and clean, and free of physical obstacles. Areas such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes must comply with the building codes of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Additionally, any other unreasonable safety hazard, even if it doesn't violate a specific provision of a building code, can create liability for the landlord if it injures a tenant.
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. Additionally, 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. Typically, 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 Plymouth, Massachusetts Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Tenants and landlords always want to avoid getting into any serious disputes - these disputes interfere with the tenant's living arrangement, and the landlord's business. In short, they help nobody. While a good Plymouth, Massachusetts attorney can certainly help his or her client prevail in such a dispute, they may be more valuable for their ability to help prevent such disputes from escalating in the first place.