Tag Archives: security deposit

Legal Discussion: Massachusetts Security Deposit Recovery

In Massachusetts, the law regarding security deposits is very pro-tenant.

Has any of the following happened to you?

  • Landlord did not return the security deposit within 30 days after termination of the tenancy
  • Landlord did not deposit the security deposit in an escrow account.
  • Landlord made up false damage
  • Landlord charged you for cleaning costs and took that from the security deposit

If your landlord did not follow the law, you could be entitled to  3 times the amount of the security deposit.

If you are interested in speaking with an experienced security deposit lawyer about your rights, you are encouraged to contact us.

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Broad Street Associates v. Stephen Levine

Related posts: Apartment Amenity and Move In Fee Class Action Investigation, Equity Residential Hit With Class Action Lawsuit 

According to this decision, it is unlawful for residential landlords to charge application fees in Massachusetts.  Application fees are just one of the illegal fees that are often imposed on tenants such as up front  “move in fees,” “amenity fees,” or “pet fees.” 

Legal Issues:

1. Is charging pet rent legal in Massachusetts?

2. Is charging an up-front pet deposit or pet fee at the beginning of the tenancy legal in Massachusetts?

3. Can a Massachusetts landlord legally charge an application fee?

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS NORTHEAST HOUSING COURT

BROAD STREET ASSOCIATES v. STEPHEN LEVINE

No. 12-SP-2041

DECISION AND ORDER

On July 1, 2010, the tenant paid the landlord a $45 application fee, and on July 7, 2010, paid a $1,000 security deposit and $1,000 first month’s rent. Thereafter, the tenant paid $1,000 monthly rents and $50 per month “pet fees under three successive Leases and two successive Pet Agreements. Disputes arose between the parties, chiefly about roof leaks and related housing defects and conditions of disrepair.  The tenant withheld his rent and stopped paying the pet fees. The landlord responded by bringing this summary process case for nonpayment of rent.

1. The landlord complied with the. bank deposit and receipt requirements of the Security Deposit Law, Gen.L. c.186 §15B(2) (b) , (c) , and (3) (a), with respect to the $1,000 security deposit.

2. The landlord did not comply with the five-percent interest requirement of the Security Deposit Law, Gen.L. c.186 §15B(3){b). The tenant is entitled to payment of or credit for the $103.21 interest accrued on the security deposit.

3.  The landlord violated the excess payments requirement of the Security Deposit Law, Gen.L. c.186 §15B(1) (b) , by requiring the tenant (then a prospective tenant) to pay the $45 application fee. The tenant is entitled to return of or credit for the $45 application fee. Continue reading

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My Landlord kept my security deposit!

Common scenario:

A landlord keeps all or part of a security deposit.  They often commit technical violations that not only forfeit the landlord’s right to hold the deposit at all, but entitle the former tenant to three times the amount of the deposit, and legal fees.

If you are having a problem with a Massachusetts landlord, you are welcome to contact us. We have successfully taken on landlords from the biggest in the country to individual owners renting out only one unit.

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Masschusetts Law on Landlords Taking Last Month’s Rent in Advance:

Summary of the law on last month’s rent In Massachusetts:

  • The amount of the last month’s rent must be the same as the first month’s rent.
  • Landlords have to give a proper receipt if they take last month’s rent in advance.
  • Landlords are required to pay interest on last month’s rent collected in advace, and if they don’t they can be forced to pay triple the amount of interest due, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.

M.G.L. ch. 186 s. 15(B)(2)(a)

“Any lessor or his agent who receives, at or prior to the commencement of a tenancy, rent in advance for the last month of the tenancy from a tenant or prospective tenant shall give to such tenant or prospective tenant at the time of such advance payment a receipt indicating the amount of such rent, the date on which it was received, its intended application as rent for the last month of the tenancy, the name of the person receiving it and, in the case of an agent, the name of the lessor for whom the rent is received, and a description of the rented or leased premises, and a statement indicating that the tenant is entitled to interest on said rent payment Continue reading

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What is the Purpose of the Massachusetts Law on Security Deposits?

The purpose of the Massachusetts law governing security deposits (M.G.L. c. 186, § 15B)  is to assist “tenants in a residential property who, as a practical matter, are generally in inferior bargaining positions and find traditional avenues of redress relatively useless; i.e. the legal expense of chasing a security deposit would be more than the amount of the deposit.”  Shwachman v. Khoroshansky, 15 Mass.App.Ct. 1002, 448 N.E.2d 409 (1983).  Put simply, the purpose of the Massachusetts law on security deposits is to help tenants get their money back.

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