Skip to main content
Jennifer L. DiCarlo

Jennifer DiCarlo’s Answers

111 total


  • Can a landlord use the excuse of 'family issues' to justify not returning a security deposit for over 60 days?

    I moved out at the end of August and my landlady stopped communicating with me in the middle of september regarding my deposit. I made numerous calls, sent emails(our primary form of communication) and sent a certified letter via mail which she si...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    Based on the facts you have provided, I would recommend that you engage the services of a landlord / tenant law attorney and move forward with a claim for violation of the security deposit law, which is very cut and dry. There are very limited circumstances in which a landlord can withhold a security deposit or any portion of it and if they do so illegally, may be subject to triple damages, attorney's fees and court costs. My office routinely handles these kinds of claims on a contingency. I only get paid if the tenant gets paid. We only require that the tenant shoulder the small claims filing fee, which varies depending on the size of your claim.

    See question 
  • I received a notice to quit from in my mailbox in an unmarked envelope. Could this work in my favor in court?

    I received a notice to quit in an unmarked envelope from the landlord's lawyer. I'm sure the intention was to have me disregard this envelope all together since it was unmarked. Could this weigh in my favor when presenting in court? How should...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    A landlord is not required to utilize a constable to serve a notice to quit although it is good practice. Mailing the notice or leaving it your door is just fine. The contents of the notice and their legality is another issue altogether and you may want to consult with an attorney to determine your rights and obligations. The summary process summons and complaint may be served by a sheriff or their deputy or by any person authorized by law, such as a constable. If service of the summary process summons and complaint is not made in hand, then a copy must be also be mailed to the defendant at the address listed on the summons and complaint by first class mail.

    See question 
  • I received a 30-day notice to quit. Do I continue to pay the rent or put the rent in escrow?

    I received a 30-day notice to quit. Do I continue to pay the rent or put the rent in escrow? I do not want to have it weigh against me in court for not paying the rent. What if the landlord deposits the rent do I get this money back in court si...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    Despite the fact that your landlord may have terminated your tenancy, you are still required to pay rent unless there is some legal reason for you not to (like you are legally withholding it for repairs or you paid last month's rent at the inception of your tenancy). Your decision to withhold rent, while possibly tactical because you need the funds for a new rental or for some other legitimate reason may not get you off the hook and if your landlord has to go to court to have you evicted, they will likely also obtain a judgment against you for any monies owed. Use caution when decided to take such a path.

    See question 
  • How can I take my ex-boyfriend's name out of the Title Deed? He's a foreigner and does not pay the mortgage.

    My ex-boyfriend and I are joint owners of a two-family house. I added his name to the Title after I had secured the house. The mortgage is under my name and I pay it regularly. He did help me financially with part of the down payment, part of the ...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    Unfortunately, absent court intervention, you cannot unilaterally remove his name from the title to the property. You can seek to have the property partitioned, but this would likely result in a sale of the property to a third party. In order to do this, you would have to file a petition for partition in either the Land Court or the applicable Probate Court. The process is very costly and time consuming. There may not even be equity enough in the property to warrant a partition. Your best option is to reach an agreement with your ex-boyfriend and have him execute a quitclaim deed. As I understand it, he's not on the mortgage, but you may want to consult an attorney to ensure that none of the acceleration or default provisions of the mortgage are triggered by the transfer prior to changing title.

    See question 
  • Do I have to get the renter's permission in order to change the oil heat system in my house?

    I am the owner of the house and I have renters that rented the bottom part of the house. I want to change the oil heat system in our house because of safety reasons, the but renter disagreed. Can we still change the oil heat system without their a...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    I agree that you have the right to upgrade the heating system subject to any requirements contained in your rental agreement and limited also by the right your tenant has to quiet enjoyment of the premises and additional subject to requirements of the sanitation code and warranty of habitability. I would offer a further word of caution - if you are already shouldering the cost of heat and hot water on behalf of your tenant (i.e. it’s included in their rent) and are now trying to circumvent that responsibility by changing the heating system, be careful. You could subject yourself to additional problems, penalties and damages if you interfere with the tenant's utility services. You should consult with a landlord/tenant attorney and have them review your lease and the rental situation before undergoing the significant expense and ordeal of upgrading your heating system.

    See question 
  • Can I sue someone for not paying me back for not paying on time and not paying in full

    I rented our apartment as a sublet to two people.they were supposed to stay there for two months.we did the paperwork through the leasing office,and I still have the paperwork saying that they'll take over the apartment and they will pay the two m...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    Based on the facts you have provided, it sounds like you may have a case against the subletters. Of course, this all depends on what was memorialized in writing. Small claims court would be an affordable and speedy means to seek a judgment against them for the amount they owe and any additional damages you have occurred so long as the total claim is not more than the small claims maximum of $7000. Hopefully you can still find the subletters so that they can receive the small claims complaint and be hauled into court.

    See question 
  • I've been in a year long battle with my landlord in the courts for repairs, etc. Recently I changed jobs

    and my income is slow to come in. Purely my fault, I am now late with rent. Today the judge granted possession of the apartment to the landlord. The landlord asked how long I have left in the apt and the judge said to speak with the clerk. So I a...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    A judgment in a summary process action must be appealed by filing a notice of appeal with the court within 10 days of entry of the judgment. This will stay the issuance of the execution. There also may be various motions available to you. Otherwise, an execution issues 10 days after entry of the judgment. The court must issue the execution within 90 days of entry of the judgment. Once it is issued, an execution for possession remains valid for 90 days. Stays of execution are often available to some tenants in certain circumstances at the discretion of th ecourt by filing a motion, attending a hearing on that motion and making a case for being granted a stay. The maximum stay is typically 6 months (12 months if the tenant is elderly, disabled or handicapped) But, the tenant must pay for use and occupancy during the period of the stay.

    See question 
  • I am a tenant with a lease in a foreclosed home. My brother was the previous owner. What are my rights?

    The new owners will not acknowledge my lease. or come to any terms with me that are accepable to me

    Jennifer’s Answer

    You may have rights under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA). Once the new owner takes ownership, a 90 day notice needs to be served on all of the occupants. The notice requires the occupants to provide proof that they are bonafide tenants and not somehow related to the former owner who was foreclosed. If they are bonafide tenants and can prove this, then they are afforded the protections of the PTFA. They can remain in the premises under their lease, if there is a lease, unless the new owner intends to occupy the property as their primary residence (if, for instance, the property was sold to a 3rd party at auction rather than back to the lender). The 90-day notice period is required regardless of whether the occupant actually has a lease or was a tenant at will. It isn’t until the 90-day notice period expires that the new onwer can even serve the summary process/eviction complaint and then there is a timeframe under which you have to file it and then a hearing is scheduled. It sounds like you may not be completely protected by the federal statute if you are related to the former owner, but may benefit from some of the protections under state law. Here is a link to info on state law protections: http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/docs/foreclosure/tenants-rights.pdf . In any event, you may want to consult with a landlord/tenant attorney to ascertain your rights and obligations.

    See question 
  • Verbal notice 10/6/12 to vacate 10/31/12 landlord want to prorate my security deposite

    illegal lower leval apt.

    Jennifer’s Answer

    Based on the very limited information, it sounds like you have received merely a request to vacate since your landlord has apparently failed to terminate your tenancy in writing. In order to terminate your tenancy, your landlord must follow various legal requirements including notifying you in wrting. It also sounds like your landlord may be trying to convert your security deposit into last month's rent. In order for your landlord to withhold any portion of your security deposit, if it is in fact a security deposit, he must comply with some very strict legal requirements. You should consult a landlord/tenant attorney to discuss your rights and obligations.

    See question 
  • My landlord said he wants me out by nov 1 2012 and i have 2 children 8,11 but i havent found another place yet

    can he still move in another tenents stuff while im in the apart ment what should i do what are my rights

    Jennifer’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Presuming you are renting in Massachusetts, it sounds like your tenant may have terminated your tenancy and nothing more. But, even if that is so, their are still strict requirements your landlord must comply with in order to have actually terminated it. Also, termination of your tenancy by way of a notice to quit is just the first step in the eviction process. If you do not vacate by the termination date, your landlord will have to file a summary process case to have you evicted by the court. That can take weeks and then there are still several steps that require time. You may have defenses and may be able to postpone moving. I recommend that you consult with a landlord attorney to determine what your rights and obligations are.

    See question