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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10237
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I am renting in an apartment complex. The fire sprinkler

Customer Question

I am renting in an apartment complex. The fire sprinkler that was installed outside my apartment froze and burst a few weeks ago due to the weather in the Boston area. My apartment was flooded and most of my furnishings were damaged or destroyed. I was told it would be at least a month before I can get into my apartment.
Can this nullify my lease agreement?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 9 months ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this situation. This kind of extensive damage would likely qualify for "uninhabitability" under the Mass. Sanitary Code (see: http://www.masslegalhelp.org/your-right-to-a-decent-place-to-live) and entitle you to terminate th elease early.

Try to negotiate an early lease termination with the landlord first (they should agree to it), if they do not, contact a local landlord/tenant mediator (living in a large metro area such as Boston there are generally free or very low cost services, you can contact them through the local Bar Association). A mediator can offer a neutral 3rd party to help you negotiate a lease termination (and deal with any other disputes, such as compensation for your property damage as well).

If this fails, you can sue your landlord in court to terminate the lease. (The other option is to move out and then wait for the landlord to sue you, the defend the landlord's enforcement action by claiming uninhabitability, the downside to this route is that it is less certain, and you will have a landlord enforcement action against you which is public record and can lead to problems with future rentals - some attorneys are more aggressive and recommend this route, I recommend the more conservative lesser risk route, but both are perfectly viable options for you to consider).