Landlords Could Be Liable For Tenants Criminal Acts

A recent case is a reminder that as a result tragic accident in a rental property, a Landlord could be found liable if the Landlord is on notice of a tenant’s potential criminal conduct. In this case a second floor tenant fired a rifle through the floor killing the first floor tenant in her bed. The estate sued the Landlord claiming the Landlord was negligent letting the second floor tenants live there.

The Court did not find a duty in the Landlord to take action against the second floor tenants who had not committed any prior acts of violence. The legal standard is that for the Landlord to be liable for negligent conduct she must have failed to discharge a duty of care owed to the victim, harm must have been reasonably foreseeable, and the negligence must be the proximate or legal cause of the victim’s injury.

The general rule in Tort Law is that Landlords owe a duty of reasonable care to tenants and lawful entrants regarding premises that the Landlord controls. It is a reminder that Landlords should take that duty seriously.

If you are in need of an experienced real estate attorney to assist with you landlord tenant issue, please contact our law office for a case evaluation.

Section 8 Case in Massachusetts

Tenant being evicted for not paying her share of the rent blamed Section 8 for not recalculating her share.  Tenant argued that GLM 186 Sec. 11 required the Landlord  and Court to wait for that adjustment.  The District Court Judge did not agree and that was sustained  on appeal.  The Landlord is not precluded from taking action when the tenant fails to pay their share of the rent.

If you are in need of an experienced Section 8 landlord attorney to assist with you landlord tenant issue, please contact our law office for a case evaluation.

Landlord Serves Two Notices to Quit

By Robert Jachowicz

A Landlord takes its chances if more than one ground exists to terminate a tenancy and the decision is made to issue two separate Notices to Quit concurrently.  For example if a tenant is behind in the rent and also in violation of a covenant in the written tenancy agreement, the Landlord could send a Notice to Quit for nonpayment of rent and a Notice to Quit for breach of the Lease.

In a recent District Court Appellate Decision the tenant in Hingham District Court lost the case, but appealed this issue to the Appellate Division.  However, the District Court Judge made no findings (the tenant failed to request them) so the general challenge to the findings in the Appellate Division was dismissed.  Although that appears to be a vindication of the Landlord sending the two notices, the issue was not reached on the merits, and  the appeal took longer than it would have to just do separate notices.  The Notices to Quit to terminate the tenancy were dated April 30, 2015 and the decision of the Appellate Divsion was not rendered until April 17, 2017.  It is hard to view that as a victory for the Landlord.

If you are in need of an experienced real estate attorney to assist with you landlord tenant issue, please contact our law office for a case evaluation.