What to do about a landlord who is harrassing us?

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What to do about a landlord who is harrassing us?

Landlord is entering home without permission or notice and at times when we are not home. Landlord wanted to evict us by verbal threats but not go to court so to try to displace us he shut off the septic and water which has been off for a month. He acknowledges that we sleep there and have to use facilities and eat out elsewhere. Because we are persistent as to when the water and septic will be turned on, he has just recently changed the locks as of yesterday. None of this was done with court order or permission and we feel our legal rights as tenants have been violated.

Asked on May 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Your legal rights have been violated from what you write; a landlord may not--

* shut off utilities, sewar, water, etc.

* change the locks himself

(Note that IF there were grounds to evict you, the landlord can only do this by going to court and getting a "judgment of possesion"; it is illegal for a landlord to lock out or otherwise try to force out tenants himself.)

* to enter you home without your consent, except upon reasonable notice (e.g. 24 hours) for repairs, maintence, inspection, or to show it to prospective renters or buyers, or for an emergency (e.g. gas leak, major water leak, fire).

You should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney about suing your landlord; from what you write, you are entitled to monetary compensation for the time you have been without water or septic, as well as for the illegal lock out, and also for a court order directing the landlord to cease the harassment.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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