Real Estate Law
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I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.
A lease goes both ways - in exchange for you paying the rent, the landlord has to give you a place to live. If you can't live in the property because it's uninhabitable, even due to something that wasn't the landlord's fault, they need to either put you up in a hotel or refund your rent until the place can be used again. If the total you're owed is less than $7,000, you can file a claim against your landlord in the Small Claims division of the District Court. The state puts forms online that you can use to file the case on your own without a lawyer.
When a tenant vacates a rental property, the landlord must return the security deposit or send a detailed accounting within 30 days. If your landlord doesn't do either of those things, you'll be able to sue for THREE TIMES the deposit. G. L. c. 186, Section 15B. So consider whether you want to wait or run the risk of filing two separate lawsuits (which is allowed, but then you have to go to court twice).
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