All tenants have the right to live in a safe and decent place. If your landlord knows about a dangerous or unhealthy problem in your apartment or building, and they do not fix it, they are breaking the law. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts holds minimum standards for human habitation. Read more here.
If a landlord does not respond to a tenant’s complaints about a Sanitary Code violation, the tenant may request that a code enforcement officer or the local board of health inspect the apartment. An inspector can then come to the apartment, review the conditions, and order the landlord to fix the problem if necessary. In the event that the landlord still fails to fix the problem, a tenant may be able to withhold a portion of the rent or move out, even if there is a lease or rental agreement in place. However, before either withholding rent or moving out, tenants considering these options should contact a private lawyer or legal services for more information and advice.
You can reach out to the Beverly Board of Health here: (978) 921-8591.
For more information about the State Sanitary Code, you can call the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Citizen Information Service hotline at 617-727-7030 or 1-800-392-6090 (in MA only).