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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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I had a tenancy at will agreement with my landlord at a 3-bedroom

Customer Question

I had a tenancy at will agreement with my landlord at a 3-bedroom unit with kitchen / bathroom common areas with my name being the only one on the lease. I would occupy one of the rooms while I would rent out each of the other two rooms for more than the amount they were were worth. One day, I moved out of the apartment, and I rented out the third room for more its share. The landlord has said that he has taken me off the lease because I hadn't asked him permission to do this what I am doing. My two questions are, 1. is what I am doing actually illegal or is the only problem here failing to ask the landlord permission? 2. What kind of damages can the participants seek from me here? At the time of my eviction, I had paid for one remaining month's rent with 12 days remaining on this month. Landlord changed the keylocks, and now I am not allowed to enter property.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:
In which state is the property located? Did you have a written lease with the landlord which had expired, so you became a month to month tenant at some point? If so, did the lease permit you to sublease the property?
I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Property is located in Massachusetts. I have a written lease with a landlord / verbal agreement with landlord - currently, I don't know where the tenancy at will agreement is. That agreement, however, is just a handwritten note with both of our signatures that names me a tenancy at will tenant and sets no terms between us. It had been a tenancy at will agreement since December of 2013. I had been subleasing the property since day one where I had made agreement with landlord to be the only name on the lease and have my roommates deal with me directly. The lease did not say anything about permission or no permission to sublease the property. The locks were changed on me without any prior notice / formal eviction procedure.
Expert:  Tina replied 2 years ago.
I see. Thank you for sharing this additional information.
Since the lease did not prohibit subleasing or require consent from the landlord, it would not typically be unlawful for you to sublet the property. However, it would normally be unlawful for the landlord to change the locks on the property or otherwise prevent the tenants from gaining access without a court order. That conduct could lead to a lawsuit against the landlord for the unlawful eviction.
It does not appear you have done anything unlawful, but the tenants who have been unlawfully evicted could call the police and seek their assistance in regaining access to the rental property. They should also retain a local tenant law attorney to represent them in pursuing damages against the landlord.
Here is a link which provides information on illegal evictions in Massachusetts:
I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate my service when I have answered your questions so I will be compensated for my time assisting you. Thank you!

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