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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 117370
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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Good morning, I have a question. I rented a house last november

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Good morning,

I have a question. I rented a house last november which had 3 bedrooms upstairs and a spare room in the basement. The rental agent suggested that I get room mates to help cover the cost. He said that he would help me find some if I wanted. I wan't sure if I did want room mates at that time, and knew I could find my own if I did.

Then because of the heating expenses in the winter, I did get room mates. My lease was only for six months. I became tenant at will for 4 months after that. So I had people who only were looking for short term stays, 1-3 months or so. A few people came and went. They were all very nice. Until this one lady, who I regrettably rented a room to. She made life miserable for every one else and I asked her to leave. She was very angry and called the building inspector who came and found safety violations int the house (which we never saw because she stole the document we could see it) and the inspector left notice on the door for us all to move out AT ONCE which caused a lot of emotional and financial stress for me and the others who lived there.

But come to find out, the major infraction was that the neighborhood was not zoned for anything but FAMILIES to live there. No room mate situations.

I looked at the original lease and it does say that (in the little print), so I don't think I can get any recompense from the land lord, but the rental agent must have know that and HE was the one who advised room mates in the first place!

So after that verbose preamble, my question is, am I entitled to any recompense from him for verbally misrepresenting the situation to me and suggesting that I get room mates?


Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

In order to pursue him for negligence, you would have to prove he misrepresented this to you and it was NOT specified in the contract of lease. The reason for this is because the MA courts do consider that when a person has signed a written contract they have actually read that contract and understood the contract and agreed to those terms. Thus, since it is in the contract the court would hold you to have read that and under the Parol Evidence Rule, one cannot try to introduce oral statements that purport to change the terms of the written lease. Thus, he could not change the terms of the lease.

Now, you do have a chance here under MA's very friendly consumer protection law, Section 93A by proving this was an unfair and deceptive practice by the agent in telling you that it was permissible to rent to roommates in violation of the lease and you relying on his expertise in the matter since he was the one who provided you the lease. You need to start by sending him a letter, which is required under Section 93A, and you need to specify that the letter is notice of his unfair and deceptive practice under MA General Law Section 93A in that he intentionally misrepresented and allowed you to get roommates in violation of the law and the lease and you relied on his expertise when asking his advice. You can seek reasonable damages from him in your letter, such as the cost of move and maybe the last month's rent, but tell him if he refuses then Section 93A allows you to sue for triple damages plus attorney's fees and you will do so.

This is your recourse in this matter.

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