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Christopher McHallam

Christopher McHallam’s Answers

54 total

  • My landlord is missing

    My city boarded up the rental property I lived in without notice and everything I own is still in it

    Christopher’s Answer

    Contact the City immediately and find out why the property was condemned. You should be able to make arrangements to retrieve essential personal items immediately with the City. Depending upon your income, you may also be able to get emergency housing assistance. Also contact an attorney immediately to better understand your rights and what may be required going forward.

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  • What recourse for a commercial landlord force closing your business with unreasonable time frame to vacate property.

    Owner of horse property wants to close facility and us to move out in 2 weeks, rather than do what he is supposed to as a landlord. (does no snow removal, no grounds maintenance, takes up to 6 mos to fix plumbing, comes on property un-announced, ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    I agree with the prior answer. In order to terminate your tenancy and your possessory rights. The landlord must follow the rules associated with summary process and eviction proceedings. The landlord is not entitled to take matters into his own hands and simply evict you by virtue of closing the property. I strongly recommend seeking counsel as you may have defense associated with the conduct you have described as being taken by the landlord.

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  • Can condominium trustees and/or management company provide mediation for a dispute between two conflicting owners?

    Is it required to be a licensed mediator if dispute, for example, is about noisy neighbor?

    Christopher’s Answer

    In Massachusetts, a mediator who is not trained in accordance with the mediation confidentiality statute may be compelled to testify at a judicial proceeding regarding the statements and disclosures made by the parties during mediaiton. Therefore, a trained mediator is preferable to ensure full confidentiality. Moreover, a trustee or management company employee may not be seen as neutral if both parties are members of the same organization and as the organization may have a stake in the outcome. It is suggested that an independent, trained mediator be used to preserve confidentiality and give the confidence of neutrality.

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  • Can i sue my landlord?

    Fire sprinkler burst in my apartment, was forced to move to another apartment, my wife and i were unable to work that week because we were forced to move. should apartment complex pay me for lost wages, stress, and aggravation?

    Christopher’s Answer

    When one leases an apartment, they have a possessory interest in the leased premises that should not be disturbed and to which the tenants should fully use without interference. By virtue of the flood, your right to the exclusive use of the apartment has been interfered with and impaired. Your landlord's insurer is likely the source of coverage for the costs related to emergency relocation. It is possible that part of that coverage may be some form of compensation for the inconvenience and hassle associated with the flood. Therefore, I recommed reaching out, either directly or through your landlord, to the insurer to find out what coverage is available and submit a claim. It would be helpful to have an attorney.

    If there is no insurance, your landlord should be responsible for your moving expenses and you should present all of your damages. Whether the landlord would be ultimately responsible for all damages, it is not clear. It is worth pursuing a claim for all reasonably related expenses.

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  • I requested my local Board of Health to inspect a home that I own which I have tenants in. Do I have a legal right to be present

    The tenants told the Health Inspector that they don't want me there? Do I have the right to be there?

    Christopher’s Answer

    You have a right to enter the apartment to inspect and make repairs. I am not aware of any specific rule or law which precludes you from being present during the inspection. Therefore, I would contact the Board of Health and advise that you will be attending. Unless the Board of Health specifically objects, you should then attend.

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  • Can I get sued for damages for breaking a rental lease in MA by my former landlord?

    Former landlord threatened to sue, but we moved out in October 2011. The lease officially ended October 1, 2012. I have heard nothing from former landlord's lawyer since October 2011. I believe they have no case against me, but would like to kn...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Further information is required to provide an accurate answer as to the nature of your lease arrangements and what transpired when you vacated the apartment. Whether or not you are liable for any further rent depends upon whether your landlord accepted your surrender of the apartment and how soon it was re-rented. In terms of the statute of limitations, your landlord could have up to six years to bring a claim for a breach of a lease agreement.

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  • Breach of confidentiality?

    A 3rd party w/o a court order spoke with Manager to leasing office. She disclosed how much I pay rent, The fact that I am on a waiting list for subsidy, and that an outside agency assisted in helping me catch up on two months rent. The third part...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Under the law in Massachusetts, certain persoanl information regarding your financial affairs is considered private and may not be disclosed by certain governmental and associated agencies. It is not clear from your answer whether the privacy law applies in this situation. Clarity is required as to the entities involved and whether the disclosure has had any negative effect upon your efforts to obtain benefits. Therefore, it is not clear what you would like to accomplish. It is fair to say, however, that it is harmful and invasive for anyone to disclose that kind of information, unless they are required to so. I recommend speaking with an attorney and providing further details.

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  • My husband moved to Boston he left behind stuff. What do I do?

    My husband moved to Boston he left alot of stuff he says he's not coming back. What do I do with his stuff he refuses to come back.

    Christopher’s Answer

    I would recommend writing him a letter/email listing all of his items and telling him that if he doesn't get them within thirty (30) days, you are not going to continue to store them and you will consider that he has abandoned them. You should suggest that he make arrangements for storage if he can't pick them up. As you are married, some of the items may be considered marital property and thus you may be able to retain them, if you wish. I recommend you consult a local attorney, especially if there is anything of significant value.

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  • How to go about getting my security deposit back from my previous landlord.

    I moved out of my appt. in Nov. my landlord asked me to give her a couple weeks then we would do the walk though. I waited 3 weeks before calling her back and now im getting no response from her, regardless of the amount of voicemails I leave. It ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    I agree with that answer. The only thing I would add is that you should send a written demand letter via certified mail confirming the lack of compliance with the law regarding security deposits and noting the failure to return despite the passage of several months. An attorney or housing court specialist should be consulted as you may be able to receive up to triple damages and attorney's fees.

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  • Is stating that "they will take advantage of you !!!" considered trade libel?

    I had a bad experience with a business and reported it to the corp. office of that franchise. In retaliation, that employee noticed the vanity URL plate on my vehicle and wrote up a fake and libelous statement about my 15-year-old company on a pro...

    Christopher’s Answer

    I believe the review could be considered libel and/or defamation. The larger question is how to proceed in dealing with minimizing future harm. I recommend you consult an attorney as libel and defamation cases are notoriously difficult and may come with great expense. Moreover, by drawing more attention to the matter, you may be increasing the harm it has caused.

    In order for any statement to be considered defamatory, generally speaking, it has be untruthful and disparaging. The law varies from state to state. In Massachusetts, however, if one can show the communicator made the statement with "actual malice," meaning the publisher acted with disinterested malevolence, the truth of the statement is not material. One must also be able to demonstrate economic loss and damage to reputation resulting from the offending statements. The circumstances may lend themselves to an actionable claim, further investigation is required.

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