September 29, 2016 – Did you move into an apartment and realize that the conditions are so bad that you think it may be uninhabitable? In Massachusetts, all tenants have a right to a decent, safe, and sanitary place to live, so find out what you can do about it.
Under state law, the following must be provided by a landlord, and, if they are absent or in disrepair, must be provided within 24 hours of notice:
- Provision of heat, hot and cold water, and electricity
- kitchens and bathrooms that have sinks with running water
- doors and windows that have locks
- functioning toilets
- electrical outlets in common areas
- a functioning smoke detector
Similarly, the following must be provided by a landlord, and, if they are absent or in disrepair, must be provided within 5 days of notice:
- A kitchen sink, stove, and oven in good working condition
- A bathroom kitchen sink, tub, and shower in good working condition
- An apartment free of insect, or rodent infestation
- Proper venting of space or water heater
There are also other conditions that your apartment must meet. For a full list, please visit the link below. http://www.masslegalhelp.org/housing/legaltactics1/housingcode_checklist.pdf
If you’ve determined there is something in your apartment that violates the regulations, notify your landlord in writing immediately. If the repairs are not made, you have a few options.
- Request an Inspection: Call your local town/city hall, and they will provide you an appointment with a housing inspector. If there are serious problems, such as lack of heat or water, tell them—by law, in such a case, the inspector must come within 24 hours.
- Withhold rent: This is legal to do if your landlord is not properly maintaining your apartment in certain circumstances. However, it must be done carefully and you should always consult with a lawyer to find out if you can legally do so.
To connect with an experienced lawyer, please contact our Intake Specialists by calling 617-742-0625 or submitting a request online through this form.