What can I do if my landlord is scamming the housing authority?
05/11/2007 - Landlord Tenant - State: MA #4465
My landlord has lied to Smithville Housing and told them that gas and electric was included in my rent so of course my rent goes up, so I confessed to his lie to Smithville Housing. I thought maybe they should know that they were being scamed by my landlord. The lady I spoke with did nothing for me or her company but infact I think she really covered up for him. What can I do?
You should carefully read your lease agreement to determine your rights and obligations and your landlord's rights and obligations regarding your rent payments.
The applicable Massachusetts statutes are as follows:
G.L.c. 186, § 14. Wrongful acts of lessor or landlord of buildings or premises occupied for dwelling or residential purposes; criminal penalties; civil remedies; jurisdiction; sections applicable to acts of reprisal, waiver in leases or rental agreements prohibited.
Section 14. Any lessor or landlord of any building or part thereof occupied for dwelling purposes, other than a room or rooms in a hotel, but including a manufactured home or land therefor, who is required by law or by the express or implied terms of any contract or lease or tenancy at will to furnish water, hot water, heat, light, power, gas, elevator service, telephone service, janitor service or refrigeration service to any occupant of such building or part thereof, who willfully or intentionally fails to furnish such water, hot water, heat, light, power, gas, elevator service, telephone service, janitor service or refrigeration service at any time when the same is necessary to the proper or customary use of such building or part thereof, or any lessor or landlord who directly or indirectly interferes with the furnishing by another of such utilities or services, or who transfers the responsibility for payment for any utility services to the occupant without his knowledge or consent, or any lessor or landlord who directly or indirectly interferes with the quiet enjoyment of any residential premises by the occupant, or who attempts to regain possession of such premises by force without benefit of judicial process, shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than three hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than six months. Any person who commits any act in violation of this section shall also be liable for actual and consequential damages or three month's rent, whichever is greater, and the costs of the action, including a reasonable attorney's fee, all of which may be applied in setoff to or in recoupment against any claim for rent owed or owing. The superior and district courts shall have jurisdiction in equity to restrain violations of this section. The provisions of section eighteen of chapter one hundred and eighty-six and section two A of chapter two hundred and thirty-nine shall apply to any act taken as a reprisal against any person for reporting or proceeding against violations of this section. Any waiver of this provision in any lease or other rental agreement, except with respect to any restriction on the provision of a service specified in this section imposed by the United States or any agency thereof or the commonwealth or any agency or political subdivision thereof and not resulting from the acts or omissions of the landlord or lessor, and except for interruptions of any specified service during the time required to perform necessary repairs to apparatus necessary for the delivery of said service or interruptions resulting from natural causes beyond the control of the lessor or landlord, shall be void and unenforceable.
G.L.c. 186, § 15. Provisions of lease or rental agreement pertaining to non-liability of landlord.
Section 15. Any provision of a lease or other rental agreement relating to real property whereby a lessee or tenant enters into a covenant, agreement or contract, by the use of any words whatsoever, the effect of which is to indemnity the lessor or landlord or hold the lessor or landlord harmless, or preclude or exonerate the lessor or landlord from any or all liability to the lessee or tenant, or to any other person, for any injury, loss, damage or liability arising from any omission, fault, negligence or other misconduct of the lessor or landlord on or about the leased or rented premises or on or about any elevators, stairways, hallways or other appurtenance used in connection therewith, shall be deemed to be against public policy and void.
G.L.c. 186, § 15F. Certain provisions of lease or rental agreement relating to residential real property as to litigation and liability of landlord deemed void; remedies of tenant.
Section 15F. Any provision of a lease or other rental agreement relating to residential real property whereby the tenant agrees to waive his right to trial by jury in any subsequent litigation with the landlord, or agrees that no action or failure to act by the landlord shall be construed as a constructive eviction, shall be deemed to be against public policy and void.
If a tenant is removed from the premises or excluded therefrom by the landlord or his agent except pursuant to a valid court order, the tenant may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover three months' rent or three times the damages sustained by him, and the cost of suit, including reasonable attorney's fees.
Any agreement or understanding between a landlord and a tenant which purports to exempt the landlord from any liability imposed by this section shall be deemed to be against public policy and void.
For more information, see:
05/11/2007 - Category: Landlord Tenant - State: MA #4465
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