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John K. O'Donohue

John O'Donohue’s Answers

17 total

  • Should my landlord pay to get rid of bed bugs in our apartment?

    We've lived in our apartment almost 5 years and just discovered we have bed bugs. We were going to buy insecticides, but, every one that we've looked at doesn't seem to be any good. We'd like to ask our landlord to pay for an exterminator, but, ...

    John’s Answer

    Your landlord has to address this immediately. In my experience, bed bugs are an extremely serious problem for tenants. The bugs can spread quickly to all sorts of your personal property. If bed bugs are discovered, the exterminator will use heat lamps and other devices to kill all of the bed bugs in the unit.

    Put all of your requests for assistance with this problem in writing.

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  • Is my landlord responsible for removing black mold?

    We live in an income based apartment. And we told our landlord about the mold downstairs. Im 7 months pregnant and both my daughters have gotten ringworm in their hair and rashes on their face. I have had really bad. headaches and rash outbreaks. ...

    John’s Answer

    Yes! This is an extremely serious problem and quite obviously, a serious health hazard. You should contact a lawyer licensed in Alabama immediately.

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  • What date does the landlord have to turn on the heat in Maine?

    I live in a three-unit building. The heat is controlled by the landlord. We have no heat and are freezing.

    John’s Answer

    I can't say what the date is in Maine, but I know in Massachusetts the landlord must turn the heat on by September 15. I would be willing to bet the date in Maine is roughly the same time of the calendar year.

    I would recommend you address this concern both in writing and verbally to the landlord immediately. It may also be wise to contact an Attorney licensed in Maine if the problem persists. This is quite obviously a very serious matter that must be addressed immediately.

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  • Can I sue the government over a section 8 dispute?

    I am a landlord in Florida with a house that i rented out on section 8, the lady died, we had just signed a new lease and housing contract, she died of a drug overdose and now section 8 has stopped paying me, I thought we were locked in for a year...

    John’s Answer

    I'd carefully review the lease agreement and other agreements with the section 8 housing authority you have been working with. Chances are there is a term in the agreements that applies if the tenant dies during the lease term.

    From an equitable standpoint, it does not sound particularly equitable for you to receive a cash windfall because a tenant dies shortly after signing a one year lease. However, review the terms of the lease and see what it says.

    Your rights should be spelled out in the lease agreement and corresponding paperwork, and in the off chance they are not, I assure you that you are not the first landlord in Florida to have a section 8 tenant pass away during a tenancy. A skilled lawyer will review the case law in Florida for similar circumstances, and will advise you appropriately how to proceed.

    I would recommend you gather the paperwork and consult with a landlord-tenant attorney in the Tampa Bay area.

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  • Serving an international student who wont pay sublease rent

    Hello, I subleased my room for an international student during the summer, he payed the first month with cash but kept making excuses for the last 2 until he moved out without paying. and now he wont answer his phone or email. he did not sign any...

    John’s Answer

    I agree with the previous response.

    I also recommend you review the Uniform Small Claims Rules here in Massachusetts. My understanding is that if you can locate his address, you are ok if you send the small claims forms via first class mail, although I'd highly recommend spending the $5 on certified mail.

    Perhaps you could check with your alumni office in an effort to obtain the former tenants address? Or you may also try some of the people search tools available over the internet.

    Good luck.

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  • There has been water overflowing in the water drainage from my roof, I have told the condo association about the issue.

    The water drops are dripping on my gas meter and my vinyl wood is getting stained because of it ,possibly creating mold. I have called and sent out emails regarding these problem but the Condo Association has not taken any action thus far. What ki...

    John’s Answer

    I would first send a letter first class mail articulating the details and severity of the problem. You will want to prove when the Condo Association had notice of these problems in the event of future litigation with the Condo Association.

    Maybe the person or persons who check the email have been out of the office. The non-response could be that simple.

    Regarding any legal action, you may want to review the information about your condo associations and the rules and regulations regarding problems with the unit, and problems with repairs to the units of the Condo association.

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  • Please help we have the neighbors from hell!!!

    we have called the police on three occations now because of a rude and inconsiderate neighbor who has loud parties, plays stero loud, and has LOUD people and young kids that party on the past two Saturdays as well as this past Sunday night till wa...

    John’s Answer

    If you don't know who owns the property, you can research who the current owner may be by searching the land records online at You should then immediately inform the owner of the premises of the behavior of his/her tenants. The landlord may decide to evict the tenants if the folks are disturbing the neighbors and the other tenants quiet enjoyment of the premises, as it appears they are based on your post.

    As for your own course of action, you could go to the Northeast Housing Court in Lawrence, MA. The clerks may advise you to complete a motion for a temporary restraining order against your neighbors. You will also want to request copies of the police reports from the City of Gloucester.

    I believe you could also file an application for a criminal complaint against the neighbors for the noise violations and for causing a nuisance in the neighborhood.

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  • How long will a foreclosure take in Massachusetts?

    Got the 90 day default letter a while back. My attorney filed a suit against Wells Fargo. If the suit is successful, I will most likely keep the house. If it is not and I end up losing the house, will the bank have to start the procedure over? ...

    John’s Answer

    The answer to this question really depends on a more accurate description of the facts of your case, and the status of the foreclosure at the time the lawsuit was filed against your lender.

    This will be a simple question for your attorney to answer for you. I would reach out to him or her immediately.

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  • How can I evict a tenant who knows how to play the system

    I have a tenant that was 3 months late with rent last year. She begged me to stay. I felt sorry for her and let her stay. I said you can stay until may 1, 2011 and then you must vacate and she agreed. About six weeks prior to May 1, 2011 she calle...

    John’s Answer

    Yes, of course you can get her out. I would recommend you do not go at this alone. Your tenant has a lawyer, and you would also be wise to hire one given the facts as outlined above.

    Has she already filed the complaint? I would make sure the case is removed to the housing court if thats available to you. Don't let the civil complaint slow you down with the eviction process.

    It sounds like most of this communication was verbal, if you have any correspondence in writing that proves what you have above, you'll want to bring that to the court/attorneys attention immediately.

    This goes to prove my motto that nice landlords finish last.

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  • When you have Title Insurance on a property does it mean that the Title is clear and I

    should'nt have any problems when selling it? I assume the bank wouldnt give you a mortgage if there was a problem with the deed.

    John’s Answer

    A short answer to your question is NO. This answer is the reason its a wise decision to purchase an owners insurance policy when you close.

    The flaw in your assumption is that the bank WOULD give you a Mortgage if they were unaware of any title defects. The banks rely on their lawyers to review/certify the title, but bright people make mistakes, and these errors can cause major problems. You are correct when you say that if the bank knew of a title defect, you likely would not have closed.

    Its also worth briefly noting that title problems do not have to do with problems with the deed; but all documents on your title after a thorough search of the land records by a title examiner or a licensed attorney.

    Check to see if you purchased an owners policy when you purchased your home.

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