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I am currently renting in Massachusetts without a lease (it…

Customer Question
I am currently renting...

I am currently renting in Massachusetts without a lease (it expired last February and we haven't signed another one) with my utilities included, heat, electric, & gas. The heat is oil heat. The landlord has requested that when I am not home I leave the heat on 57. I have complied with that, but did leave it on 62 today because of the extreme cold. She called because she said she can't afford to heat my place all day if I am not there. We live near the coast...normally I do shut is down, but today as I said the wind chill is awful. She is continually complaining about price. I gave her permission to enter and turn thermostat down but she doesn't want to enter without me there so she is insistent on turning furnace off?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

So sorry, Massachusetts south of Boston.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No, it has been just pretty much oral communication between her and I...I owned a home for many years on the South Shore and we would never shut the heat off completely in the winter. I have also rented elsewhere in this same town and the rule was to never shut the heat off during the winter.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No. Thank you.

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
12/28/2017
Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13,287
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

Thanks so much for your patience on this. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Is the landlord the one paying for the heat and cooling? Also, what specific questions did you have about this?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
she is. Does she have right to turn off furnace?
Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

No. She cannot turn off the furnace because she thinks it's too expensive. If she does, then this appears to be a violation of the implied warranty (promise) of habitability. All residential leases and rental agreements contain an implied warranty of habitability. Under the "implied warranty of habitability," the landlord is legally responsible for repairing conditions that seriously affect the rental unit's habitability. That is, the landlord must repair substantial defects in the rental unit and substantial failures to comply with state and local building and health codes. However, the landlord is generally not responsible under the implied warranty of habitability for repairing damages that were caused by the tenant or the tenant's family, guests, or pets. This doesn't seem to be the case if she is being cheap. The usual measure of damages is either 1) a cancellation of the lease agreement; 2) a withholding of the rent until the item is repaired; or 3) you repair the matter yourself and request reimbursement.

Did you have any other questions for me today?

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