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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).
Get help documenting bad conditions in your home here: https://madeuptocode.org/
In Massachusetts, landlords of private, unsubsidized housing can ask for as much rent as they want. They do not have to adjust the rent to an amount you can afford.
Your landlord can only raise the rent if they give you proper notice. A new landlord must accept your old rent until the new landlord gives you proper notice. Proper notice says your current tenancy is ending and offers you a new tenancy at a higher rent. The notice can be 1 document or 2 separate documents.
Your landlord must not raise your rent if:
Read more here.
Get legal help at Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder here: https://masslrf.org/en/triage/info
Are you having trouble paying your rent, mortgage or utility bills? Have you lost your job or lost income? Are you at risk of becoming homeless?
You may be eligible to receive help with paying your rent, mortgage or utility bills. Massachusetts offers emergency housing payment assistance administered through regional agencies that can assist low-income renters, homeowners, and landlords. Renters and landlords can access the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program, which can cover utilities, moving costs, and overdue rent costs, as well as future rent in limited situations. Homeowners may be eligible to receive assistance through the Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF). Learn more about HAF here.
Regional legal aid programs assist low-income tenants with referrals, legal information, and legal representation for evictions statewide. Please see https://www.mass.gov/info-details/eviction-diversion-initiative-legal-services-and-mediation for more information.
A lawyer can advise you about the law, refer you to resources, fill out and file court papers, and represent you. A lawyer can help advise you before a case gets to court or if a case is in court. The earlier you contact a lawyer the better.
Massachusetts Community Mediation Centers are offering free pre-court mediation between landlords and tenants for lease disputes in addition to the summary process cases referred through the courts.
Mediation is a confidential, voluntary and non-judgmental process where a neutral third party (the mediator) helps people resolve differences based on what is important to them.
Beverly's local mediation center is:
THE RESOLUTION CENTER (FORMERLY NORTH SHORE COMMUNITY MEDIATION, INC)
Serving Essex County
100 Cummings Center Suite 307J | (978) 232-1212