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Residential and Commercial Landlord-Tenant Practice in Massachusetts

Comprehensive and up-to-date guidance and practical advice for the constantly changing area of landlord-tenant law.

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  • Product Number: 2010283B00
  • Publication Date: 9/7/2022
  • Edition: 4th Edition 2022
  • Copyright: © 2022 MCLE, Inc.
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  • Product Description
  • Table of Contents
  • Editors & Authors
  • Product Description

    Product Description

    Landlord and tenant law in Massachusetts comprises a myriad of statutes, regulations, and common law provisions. This book guides you through each stage of the landlord-tenant relationship, from the creation of a tenancy to its termination and posttermination issues, providing sample documents and pleadings for guidance. Featured are judicial and ethics commentary as well as tips for effective practice. The manual is full of the information you need to understand the complexities of real estate lease agreements and to represent both lessors and lessees in residential and commercial relationships.

    Recent updates:

    • Update: August 2022

      Dear Subscriber:

      Thank you for updating your reference library with the 2022 edition of Residential and Commercial Landlord-Tenant Practice in Massachusetts . This edition brings the latest in landlord-tenant law and procedure within your immediate reach—for fast answers to the questions that arise most frequently in your practice.

      There have been a number of important developments in the two years that have passed since this publication was last updated. Highlights from the 2022 edition include

      • reliance on the Violence Against Women Act as a defense to eviction;
      • a substantially revised discussion of reasonable accommodations in housing, including
        • the relative burdens on the tenant to make a reasonable accommodation request and the defendant to show, where applicable, that compliance with the request would impose an "undue burden" or result in a "fundamental alteration" of its program;
        • the interaction of reasonable accommodation requests with safety concerns and with participation in housing subsidy programs; and
        • the use of personal care attendants or live-in aides for persons with disabilities;
      • vicarious liability for discriminatory housing practices;
      • the Centers for Disease Control's reduction of the "reference value" used to identify individuals with lead exposure;
      • lead poisoning liability under Chapter 93A and general negligence principles;
      • a recent Supreme Judicial Court decision finding that an owner renting a house for a weekend had no duty of care to third parties where the renter had sole and exclusive possession of the home;
      • discontinuation of the "substantial factor" test and adoption of the traditional "but for" standard for determining causation in most tort cases;
      • guidance on eviction practices under court protocols adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
      • a statutory amendment providing that minors are not to be named in summary process complaints;
      • a finding that the court has equitable authority to require that tenants make interim use and occupancy payments during a summary process eviction trial;
      • recent Housing Court cases on standing;
      • numerous recent cases on postforeclosure eviction along with related statutory and judicial developments; and
      • an overview of Housing Court changes relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      With this latest edition, Residential and Commercial Landlord-Tenant Practice in Massachusetts remains an essential companion for any lawyer handling a landlord-tenant matter in Massachusetts. We at MCLE thank you for your ongoing support of this product, as we continue our efforts to bring you the latest solutions to the issues you face in your practice.

      Very truly yours,

      John M. Lawlor, Esq., MCLE Publications Attorney

  • Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    expand all
    Chapter 1 expand

    Creating the Residential Tenancy

    Buy Chapter
    Catherine F. Downing, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC

    Exhibit 1A

    - Rental Application Buy Form

    Exhibit 1B

    - Request for Prior Landlord Reference Buy Form

    Exhibit 1C

    - Licensee Agreement Buy Form

    Exhibit 1D

    - Tenancy-at-Will Buy Form

    Exhibit 1E

    - Standard Form Apartment Lease Buy Form

    Exhibit 1F

    - Rent and Security Deposit Receipt Buy Form

    Exhibit 1G

    - Apartment Condition Statement Buy Form

    Exhibit 1H

    - Security Deposit Return Form Buy Form
    Chapter 2 expand

    Creating the Commercial Tenancy

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 2A

    - Exclusive Leasing Agreement Buy Form

    Exhibit 2B

    - Lease Buy Form

    Exhibit 2C

    - Definition of Percentage Rent Buy Form

    Exhibit 2D

    - Definition of Breakpoint and Gross Sales; Payment of Percentage Rent and Landlord’s Audit Provisions Buy Form

    Exhibit 2E

    - Office Definition of Operating Costs Buy Form

    Exhibit 2F

    - Retail Definition of Operating Costs Buy Form

    Exhibit 2G

    - Operating Costs Exclusions Buy Form

    Exhibit 2H

    - Tax Definition Buy Form

    Exhibit 2I

    - Audit Provision Buy Form

    Exhibit 2J

    - Subordination, Nondisturbance, and Attornment Agreement Buy Form
    Chapter 3 expand

    Reasonable Accommodation Issues in Housing

    Buy Chapter
    Deena Zakim, Esq., Greater Boston Legal Services

    Exhibit 3A

    - Nonexhaustive List of Impermissible Questions for Prospective Tenants Buy Form

    Exhibit 3B

    - Sample Certification of Need for Reasonable Accommodation Buy Form

    Exhibit 3C

    - Notice of Right to Request a Reasonable Accommodation Buy Form

    Exhibit 3D

    - Sample Request for Accommodation Buy Form
    Chapter 4 expand

    Discrimination Issues in Housing

    Buy Chapter
    Catherine F. Downing, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC
    James H. Van Dyke, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC

    Exhibit 4A

    - Resources Buy Form

    Exhibit 4B

    - Table of Antidiscrimination Statutes and Statutes of Limitations Buy Form

    Exhibit 4C

    - MCAD Complaint Form Buy Form

    Exhibit 4D

    - Sample Response by Respondent to MCAD Complaint Buy Form

    Exhibit 4E

    - HUD Complaint Form Buy Form
    Chapter 5 expand

    Enforcement of the State Sanitary and Building Codes

    Buy Chapter
    Thomas J. Broom, Esq., Boston Zoning Board of Appeal
    Edward Coburn, Esq., Boston Inspectional Services Department
    Neil R. Janulewicz, Jr., Esq., Boston Inspectional Services Department
    Kevin P. O'Connor, Jr., Esq., Boston Inspectional Services Department

    Checklist 5.1

    - Checklist for Housing Inspection Reports (G.L. c. 111, § 127B) Buy Form

    Checklist 5.2

    - Housing Complaint Screening Checklist Buy Form

    Exhibit 5A

    - Notice of Violation (Building Code) Buy Form

    Exhibit 5B

    - Notice of Violation (Sanitary Code) Buy Form

    Exhibit 5C

    - Attorney General v. Gilardi, Western Housing Court Docket No. 17-CV-0088 Buy Form

    Exhibit 5D

    - City of Boston Code Provision CBC 9 1.3 (Inspection and Re-Inspection of Rental Units) Buy Form

    Exhibit 5E

    - City of Boston Ordinance Regulating the Maintenance of Vacant, Foreclosing Residential Properties Buy Form

    Exhibit 5F

    - City of Boston Code Provision CBC 9 14 (Short-Term Residential Rentals) Buy Form
    Chapter 6 expand

    Lead Paint: Complying with Massachusetts Law

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 6A

    - Tenant Lead Law Notification Buy Form

    Exhibit 6B

    - Low-Risk Deleading Work by Homeowners and Their Agents: A Step-by-Step Guide Buy Form

    Exhibit 6C

    - Sample Complaint in Lead Paint Liability Action Buy Form

    Exhibit 6D

    - Sample Request for Production of Documents in Lead Paint Liability Action Buy Form

    Exhibit 6E

    - Sample Set of Interrogatories in Lead Paint Liability Action Buy Form

    Exhibit 6F

    - Sample Jury Instructions in Lead Paint Liability Action Buy Form
    Chapter 7 expand

    Tort Actions Based on the Warranty of Habitability

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 7A

    - Plaintiff’s Interrogatories to the Defendant Buy Form

    Exhibit 7B

    - Defendant’s Interrogatories to the Plaintiff Buy Form

    Exhibit 7C

    - Plaintiff’s Requests for Production of Documents and Other Items Buy Form

    Exhibit 7D

    - Defendant’s Requests for Production of Documents and Other Items Buy Form

    Exhibit 7E

    - Jury Instructions Buy Form
    Chapter 8 expand

    Tort Issues in Residential and Commercial Tenancies

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 8A

    - Complaint and Jury Trial Demand (Negligent Maintenance) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8AA

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Damages (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8B

    - Complaint and Jury Trial Demand with Chapter 93A Claim (Negligent Maintenance) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8BB

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Compensatory Damages (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8C

    - Complaint and Jury Trial Demand (Negligent Security) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8CC

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Comparative Negligence (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8D

    - Plaintiff’s First Set of Interrogatories to Defendant (Trip and Fall) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8DD

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Evidence Properly Considered (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8E

    - Plaintiff’s First Set of Interrogatories to Defendant (Negligent Security) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8EE

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Workers’ Compensation Lien (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8F

    - Plaintiff’s First Request for Production of Documents to Defendant (Trip and Fall) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8G

    - Plaintiff’s First Request for Production of Documents to Defendant (Negligent Security) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8H

    - Plaintiff’s Request for Jury Instructions Buy Form

    Exhibit 8I

    - Sample Jury Instructions on the Nature of a Civil Action (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8J

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Burden of Proof (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8K

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Preponderance of the Evidence (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8L

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Negligence (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8M

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Duty of a Property Owner (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8N

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Duty (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8O

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Owner’s Duty of Care (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8P

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Owner’s Non-Delegateable Duty of Care (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8Q

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Duty of Care (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8R

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Duty: Foreseeability (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8S

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Evidence of Control (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8T

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Evidence of Negligence (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8U

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Evidence: Handrail Regulations (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8V

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Standard of Care (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8W

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Causation Without Use of Substantial Contributing Factor Language (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8X

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Exact Cause of Injury (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8Y

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Superseding Intervening Cause (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form

    Exhibit 8Z

    - Sample Jury Instructions on Causation (Plaintiff’s Perspective) Buy Form
    Chapter 9 expand

    Landlord Applications for Injunctive Relief

    Buy Chapter
    Catherine F. Downing, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC

    Exhibit 9A

    - Sample Verified Complaint (Criminal Activity) Buy Form

    Exhibit 9B

    - Sample Order (Criminal Activity) Buy Form

    Exhibit 9C

    - Sample Verified Complaint (Property Damage) Buy Form

    Exhibit 9D

    - Sample Order (Property Damage) Buy Form

    Exhibit 9E

    - Sample Verified Complaint (Trespassing) Buy Form

    Exhibit 9F

    - Sample Verified Complaint (Trespassing—Alternative) Buy Form

    Exhibit 9G

    - Sample Order (Trespassing) Buy Form

    Exhibit 9H

    - Sample Notice of Trespass Buy Form

    Exhibit 9I

    - Sample Verified Complaint (Refusal to Allow Access) Buy Form
    Chapter 10 expand

    Probate and Family Law Issues in Housing

    Buy Chapter
    Hon. Alexander Mitchell-Munevar, Northeast Division, Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    Chapter 11 expand

    Termination of Residential Tenancies

    Buy Chapter
    Catherine F. Downing, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC
    James M. McCreight, Esq., Greater Boston Legal Services

    Checklist 11.1

    - Checklist for Notice Required from Storage Facility Holding Evicted Tenant’s Possessions Buy Form

    Exhibit 11A

    - Third Amended Housing Court Standing Order 6-20 Buy Form

    Exhibit 11B

    - Notice to Quit Terminating Tenancy at Will Buy Form

    Exhibit 11C

    - Notice to Quit Tenancy at Will with Offer of New Tenancy Buy Form

    Exhibit 11D

    - Notice to Quit for Lease Violation Buy Form

    Exhibit 11E

    - Rental Period Notice to Quit Buy Form

    Exhibit 11F

    - Use and Occupancy Letter Buy Form

    Exhibit 11G

    - Housing Court Standing Order 1-20 Buy Form

    Exhibit 11H

    - Summary Process Summons and Complaint Buy Form

    Exhibit 11I

    - Housing Court Standing Order 1 01 Buy Form

    Exhibit 11J

    - Housing Court Standing Order 1 10 Buy Form

    Exhibit 11K

    - District Court Standing Order 1 11 Buy Form

    Exhibit 11L

    - Plaintiff’s Sample Motion for Payment of Use and Occupancy and Supporting Affidavit Buy Form

    Exhibit 11M

    - MLRI Discovery Booklet Buy Form

    Exhibit 11N

    - Plaintiff’s Sample Responses to Discovery Requests and Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Compel Buy Form
    Chapter 12 expand

    Termination of Commercial Tenancies

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 12A

    - Notice of Default for Nonpayment of Rent Buy Form

    Exhibit 12B

    - Notice to Quit/Notice of Termination of Commercial Lease Buy Form

    Exhibit 12C

    - Summary Process Summons and Complaint Buy Form

    Exhibit 12D

    - Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike Buy Form

    Exhibit 12E

    - Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Buy Form
    Chapter 13 expand

    Appeals and Bonds

    Buy Chapter
    Michael J. Louis, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC
    Angela Marcolina, Esq., Boston Housing Authority
    Chapter 14 expand

    Checklist 14.1

    - Checklist of Permissible Reasons for Terminating a Manufactured Housing Tenancy Buy Form

    Exhibit 14A

    - Notice to Terminate a Manufactured Housing Tenancy Buy Form
    Chapter 15 expand

    Postforeclosure Evictions

    Buy Chapter
    Benjamin O. Adeyinka, Esq., Eastern Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    James F. Creed, Jr., Esq., Creed & Formica
    Charles Joseph Sweeney, Esq., Administrative Office of the Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    Exhibit 15A

    - Opinion Letter Concerning Referendum on 2015 Mass. Acts c. 141 Buy Form

    Exhibit 15B

    - Letter to Petitioners Regarding Referendum on 2015 Mass. Acts c. 141 Buy Form

    Exhibit 15C

    - Attorney General’s Letter Dated December 13, 2010 Buy Form

    Exhibit 15D

    - Attestation Form to Accompany Residential Notice to Quit Buy Form

    Exhibit 15E

    - Sample Form to File Impounded Materials Buy Form

    Exhibit 15F

    - Request for Information Buy Form

    Exhibit 15G

    - Occupant Notice to Vacate Buy Form

    Exhibit 15H

    - Tenant Notice to Vacate Buy Form

    Exhibit 15I

    - Mortgagor Notice Buy Form

    Exhibit 15J

    - Summary Process Summons and Complaint Buy Form

    Exhibit 15K

    - Summary Process Answer and Counterclaims Buy Form

    Exhibit 15L

    - Defendant’s Interrogatories, Request for Admissions, and Request for Production of Documents Buy Form

    Exhibit 15M

    - Agreement for Judgment Buy Form

    Exhibit 15N

    - Foreclosure Deed and Affidavit Buy Form

    Exhibit 15O

    - Complaint for Writ of Entry Buy Form
    Chapter 16 expand

    Residential and Nonresidential Real Property Leases in Bankruptcy

    Buy Chapter
    Chapter 17 expand

    Exhibit 17A

    - Sample Statement of Small Claim and Notice of Trial Form Buy Form

    Exhibit 17B

    - Verification of Defendant’s Address Buy Form

    Exhibit 17C

    - Sample Letter to Debtor Postsuit Buy Form

    Exhibit 17D

    - Agreement for Judgment and for Payment Order Buy Form

    Exhibit 17E

    - Sample Complaint to Reach and Apply Rents in Satisfaction of Judgment Against Landlord Buy Form

    Exhibit 17F

    - Application for Supplementary Process Buy Form

    Exhibit 17G

    - Sample Order Referring Case for Mediation Buy Form
    Chapter 18 expand

    Tenant Civil Actions for Damages and Other Relief

    Buy Chapter

    Checklist 18.1

    - Checklist of Requirements Relating to Tenants’ Water Service Buy Form

    Checklist 18.2

    - Checklist of Actions Requiring Return of the Security Deposit Buy Form

    Exhibit 18A

    - Housing Code Checklist Buy Form

    Exhibit 18B

    - Rent Withholding Letter Buy Form

    Exhibit 18C

    - Repair and Deduct Letter Buy Form
    Appendix

    Massachusetts Housing Court Practice

    Buy Chapter
    Sergio E. Carvajal, Esq., Carvajal Law Office, P.C.
    Hon. Robert G. Fields, Western Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    Hon. Diana H. Horan, Central Division, Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    Hon. David D. Kerman,
    Hon. Timothy F. Sullivan, Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    Charles Joseph Sweeney, Esq., Administrative Office of the Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    William S. Weiss, Central Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    Appendix A

    - Practice in the Housing Court Buy Form

    Appendix B

    - Bench Memorandum for Residential Summary Process Cases Buy Form

    Appendix C

    - Pattern Jury Instructions in Landlord-Tenant Cases Buy Form
  • Editors & Authors

    Editor(s)

    Catherine F. Downing, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC, Framingham

    Judicial Commentator(s)

    Hon. Timothy F. Sullivan, Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston

    Ethical Commentator(s)

    Author(s)

    Benjamin O. Adeyinka, Esq., Eastern Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston
    Thomas J. Broom, Esq., Boston Zoning Board of Appeal, Boston
    Edward Coburn, Esq., Boston Inspectional Services Department, Boston
    Catherine F. Downing, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC, Framingham
    Hon. Robert G. Fields, Western Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston
    Hon. Diana H. Horan, Central Division, Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Worcester
    Neil R. Janulewicz, Jr., Esq., Boston Inspectional Services Department, Boston
    Michael J. Louis, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC, Framingham
    Angela Marcolina, Esq., Boston Housing Authority, Boston
    James M. McCreight, Esq., Greater Boston Legal Services, Boston
    Hon. Alexander Mitchell-Munevar, Northeast Division, Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
    Kevin P. O'Connor, Jr., Esq., Boston Inspectional Services Department, Boston
    Charles Joseph Sweeney, Esq., Administrative Office of the Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston
    James H. Van Dyke, Esq., Downing Van Dyke LLC, Framingham
    William S. Weiss, Central Housing Court, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Worcester
    Deena Zakim, Esq., Greater Boston Legal Services, Boston
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