Overcoming Tenant Defenses to Eviction: a Primer for Landlords
Massachusetts has robust laws to protect tenants, and there are many creative ways for a tenant to try and avoid being evicted; a Massachusetts landlord tenant attorney can help you overcome these defenses. In tough economic times, tenants and squatters try to take advantage of landlords by refusing to leave when the lease has expired or when they have failed to pay rent.
There are a number of defenses a tenant may use to avoid eviction, including: bad living conditions, improper notice of eviction, discrimination, or retaliation. The advice of an experienced Massachusetts landlord tenant attorney can help you prevent these allegations from happening in the first place and successfully defend yourself.
Improper Notice or Improper Termination of a Lease
Tenants often argue that eviction is improper because the landlord violated lease terms or did not give the tenant enough notice of summary process. This is dependent on the terms of the lease and can be overcome by showing that you, as the landlord, followed the terms of the lease agreement. If you are unsure how much notice you should give the tenant, contact a Massachusetts landlord tenant attorney for clarification.
Retaliation or Discrimination
Tenants often allege racial, ethnic, or other discrimination in an attempt to avoid paying back rent after they have been evicted or to avoid eviction altogether. You will have to show that your eviction was based entirely on the terms of the agreement, failure to pay rent or other legitimate reasons. Similarly, if the tenant is alleging that you evicted them in retaliation for complaining about the premises or lease agreement, it is important to have a legitimate eviction reason to point to.
Failure to Pay Rent
Many tenants know that they can withhold rent because basic living conditions on the premises are poor. They may claim that withholding rent was necessary because the premises are unsanitary, unsafe or perhaps that they lacked basic amenities such as heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, or hot water. Again, the best defense is prevention. We may also be able to show that you fixed the problem within a reasonable amount of time, thus rendering the tenant’s claim moot.
Contact a Massachusetts Landlord Tenant Attorney
At The Law Offices of Alan H. Segal, our Massachusetts landlord tenant attorneys have assisted many landlords with overcoming tenant objections to eviction. We believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and that it is best to protect yourself from untrue allegations before they arise. Call us at (781) 444-9676 for a case consultation.