Landlord-Tenant Attorneys in Springfield
Helping Tenants and Landlords Resolve Disputes
No one wants conflict in their living situation, but, sometimes, landlords and tenants arrive at an impasse in a rental disagreement that must be resolved in court. Passions can run high as, after all, the property in question is often a family’s home. The Housing Court in the state of Massachusetts provides detailed guidance on the rights and obligations of both tenants and their landlords.
Our landlord-tenant lawyers in Springfield boast a thorough understanding of the rules and regulations that govern all parties in a rental agreement. If you are experiencing a seemingly unresolvable disagreement as either a renter or a landlord, our goal is to help settle your dispute as efficiently and effectively as possible while making sure your rights in the relationship are upheld. If you are a renter, losing a dispute can result in eviction; if you are a landlord, a loss can mean considerable financial damage. Our legal team has successfully represented both landlords and tenants in disputes and is ready to help you achieve a favorable outcome in yours.
With the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacting the American economy, many tenants are struggling to keep up with rent. While there are some state and federal support systems in place to assist renters and landlords alike struggling to navigate the fallout, many are finding themselves in a position where lost income has led to an inability to pay.
This is of course an unenviable scenario that places both landlords and tenants in an uncomfortable position. Evictions are a last resort in resolving a deteriorated rental situation, but experiencing the process in the midst of a pandemic and its aftermath is especially difficult. If you are a tenant or a landlord who has lost income as a result of the pandemic and are forced to resort to eviction, we at Hare, Stamm, Harris & O’Connor, LLC can help. If you are a renter, our lawyers can examine the specific circumstances of your potential or impending eviction and take every step necessary to protect your rights and do everything possible to save your home. If you are a landlord, we can work to make sure you take every legal step to protect yourself in the often-fraught eviction process.
If possible, we can work with both parties to find an alternative resolution to the dispute. COVID-19 has made practically every aspect of our lives more challenging, and the only way we can get through it is together.
Though every rental situation is different, there are several elements in a landlord-tenant relationship that commonly generate conflict. Often these issues can be resolved once both parties understand rights afforded to them under Massachusetts law, but other times, matters will need to be resolved with the help of legal representation or even litigation.
Landlords are legally required to disclose certain information to tenants before they officially move in. This can include factors that could impact the return of a security deposit (often outlined in a renter’s agreement) or a list of individuals who are authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf. The latter is important if there are disputes during the tenancy where someone other than the landlord attempts to communicate with the renter or access their apartment in an official capacity.
Security deposit disputes are also very common. In Massachusetts, a landlord can only charge the equivalent to one month’s rent for the security deposit. They must also return the deposit within 30 days of the tenant moving out. In the process of moving out, landlords and tenants can frequently clash on what property damages or other concerns justify deductions from the security deposit. That is why it is critical you establish what potential issues a renter is responsible for (such as natural wear and tear versus carpet damage versus broken appliances). Keep in mind that regardless of what a rental agreement might spell out, there are additional laws regulating how landlords can handle security deposits.
Perhaps the most prominent landlord-tenant issues stem from payment of rent disputes. There are specific rules about the amount a landlord can raise rent or charge late fees for nonpayment as well as regulations on the handling of tenancy terminations and evictions that must be strictly adhered to.
There are other Massachusetts laws on when landlords can enter a property, what qualifies as unlawful landlord retaliation, and how landlords are required to deal with an abandoned unit. Federal rules involving non-discriminatory housing and safety disclosures also apply in the state.
Some additional rules can be specific to individual cities, counties, and localities, including Springfield. The multiple layers of regulation can be complex and confusing to decipher, which is why it is wise to retain the services of an experienced landlord-tenant lawyer with knowledge of how the law applies to your case.
Living in a tense environment as a landlord-tenant dispute plays out can be stressful and quickly impact your quality of life. That is why it is important to resolve disputes as quickly and fairly as possible. Our Springfield landlord-tenant attorneys have substantial experience in settling and litigating disputes of all sorts, on both sides of the conflict. Our team at Hare, Stamm, Harris & O’Connor, LLC boasts over 100 years of collective legal experience and is ready to leverage our knowledge of Massachusetts law to help protect your rights as a landlord or tenant.