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It’s What We Do…

I recently had the "pleasure" of testifying on behalf of the real estate industry against the so-called "Just Cause Eviction" ordinance. As I listened to the testimony (and catcalls from the gallery), I heard terms like "slumlord" and "money-grubbers" being thrown...

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It’s Time to Own Up

On May 15, 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued a ruling requiring summary process actions to be commenced only in the name of the “owner or lessor” of the property.  While previous cases were permitted to be commenced in the name of the managing agent, who...

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Understanding VAWA: The Final Rules

On November 16, 2016, HUD published the long-awaited “Final Rules” concerning the implementation of the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). While VAWA was originally enacted by Congress in 1994, these Final Rules were intended to clarify and effectuate the law in a...

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No Harm, No Foul

A recent court decision has placed property owners on notice that, at least in the eyes of the law, the adage "no harm—no foul" does not always apply. The facts of the case were not in dispute. The property owner had a lease provision which required a tenant to pay...

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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Warning: Smoking is not only dangerous to your health, but can also get you evicted from your home. So reads the new warning label which may need to be printed on cigarette packs after a recent housing court decision allowing a landlord to evict a tenant in a...

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Movin’ On Up

Any landlord that has ever been involved in an eviction case knows that the ultimate goal of the case is to have the court issue the coveted “Execution for Possession”. This simple piece of paper has the magical power of authorizing a sheriff or constable to forcibly...

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Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

I have become something of an expert on bed bugs.  This was by no means a career ambition; I did not grow up wanting to know everything there was to know about bed bugs and would be happily ignorant about them today.  But they have become a major problem for the...

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Tale of the Tricky Tenant

We have all hard the adage, "Don’t judge a book by its cover".  That was certainly the case for the manager of an ultra-luxury apartment building in downtown Boston, when an attractive, well-dressed, well-spoken young woman announced that she needed to rent an...

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Tilex Out, Mold Claims In

Remember the days when if a person saw a smudge on their bathroom ceiling, the response was to pull out the Tilex, apply some elbow grease, and call it a day. Nowadays, the proper response is to call in the industrial hygienist, perform extensive testing, and place a...

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The Massachusetts Violence Against Women Act

During the closing moments of the 2012 legislative session, the Victims of Domestic Violence bill was enacted into law. This new statute affords victims of domestic violence certain protections in relation to their housing. While the statute, thanks in large part to...

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Deadbeats, Debtors, and the Good Old Days

In years past, a person who failed to pay their debts was locked in chains and committed into the custody of a debtors’ prison to serve their sentence until their debt was repaid. During this period, the collection of judgments and other debts was a simple matter of...

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The Sex Offender Next Door

By Michael Fentress Prior to my career as a Landlord-Tenant attorney, I represented the Department of Correction in actions seeking to keep the most dangerous sex offenders, or Sexually Dangerous Persons, in prison even after they had served and completed their...

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The Pitfalls of Pot

Arlo Guthrie famously sang that the "times, they are a changing". When he wrote that song in 1964, I am sure he never thought that the times would be changing when it came to the legality of marijuana. Not so long ago, if someone had told me that states would be...

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New Year’s Solutions

Another new year…another New Year’s Resolution. “I resolve to go to the gym this year… I resolve to eat more Kale this year… I resolve to be more Zen.” Yet we all know that New Year’s resolutions rarely last more than a few weeks. Just ask those of us who bought...

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