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Christopher McHallam

Christopher McHallam’s Answers

54 total


  • Can my landlord lock me out of my business and then continue to operate it as his under my license?

    My landlord locked me out while I was out of town. The sherrif served one of my employees When I got back doors were locked and now the business is still operating under my license and he goes in and takes the money every day. What should I do ne...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your Landlord is generally not permitted to take any self-help or extra-judicial actions to lock you out of or deprive you of your right to exclusive use and possession of the leased premises.

    If your Landlord believes you are in breach of the terms of your lease agreement, the only rememdy is to initiate eviction proceedings in the local housing or district court. Your landlord is not permitted to lock you out without court order and is not entitled to operate your business without some form of court relief.

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  • Do I have any rights if my landlord won't fix the heat?

    The heat in my apartment is not working properly. It has been bitter cole outisde and we are lucky if my thermostat gets up to 65. We live in a very old apartment and the heating system and vents all need to be replaced. I have 2 small children so...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Unless otherwise required by the lease, the LL must provide the fuel for the heat and in all events is required to maintain the premises in a reasonable condition so that the apartment is habitable. You should notify your landlord in writing of the problems and the local authorities and have them inspect the apartment. You are entitled to live in an apartment that is reasonably warm and suitable for habitation.

    If you landlord refuses to remedy the situation, you may withhold rent and/or start a court action to force him or her to make the necessary repairs to make the apartment habitable.

    I recommend you consult an attorney or housing specialist at your local housing court.

    If it is determined that the apartment is too cold and is in violation of the

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  • Does the landlord have the right to live in my apartment? he harrasses me,,,uses my things,,turns the heat off,,etc.

    he sets alarms by my bedroom so it goes off in the middle of the night,,constantly giving me a hard time..i am a good tenant,,i pay my rent on time, i keep the apt. spotless, i dont bother a soul, but he thinks it is necessary to continue to do t...

    Christopher’s Answer

    I agree with Attorney McPhail. If you are a tenant, you have right to exclusive possession of the premises free from interference from the Landlord. With the exception of the landlord's right to enter to make repairs and inspections, you are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of the leased apartment, free from any instrusive or harassing behavior from the landlord.

    You should see assistance and notify the Landlord that he is in breach of your right to quiet enjoyment and should immediately cease and desist.

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  • Lease changes via e-mail

    I have extended my lease and from March to May and added my boyfriend to the lease via e-mail, but have never gotten a response back from the landlord. Could he penalize me or charge me extra for the months of March through May if I decide to mov...

    Christopher’s Answer

    I agree with the prior answer. Typically, a lease can be modified or extended only in writing. Therefore, unless the Landlord accepts the terms of the extension and modification, you should be able to move out on March 1, 2013. Moreover, verbal agreements to "work together" generally are not enforceable without either the payment and acceptance of additional rent.

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  • The company I worked for went out of business owing me money for two weeks of pay and management fees.

    Is there a way I can collect this money. It was a Corporation, the owner passed away and the atty is basically just closing it out and says there is no money. I know there are assets and two of the brothers had stock in the company. Do I have a...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Massachusetts has a Wage law which prevents employers from improperly withholding wages. The officers and directors can be held personally responsible for non-payment of wages, along with being held responsible for up triple damages and attorney's fees. You should file a complaint with the attorney general and notify your employer that you believe they have violated the wage act.

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  • Who serves an injunction once obtained? Does the person against whom the injunction is have any right to object or protest?

    When an injunction is obtained does the Court serve it or does the Sheriff? Can the person who the injunction is against have any right to object or ptotest? If so how would they do that?

    Christopher’s Answer

    Typically, an injunction is served by a sheriff, or with the court's permission, by a constable. If an injuction is obtained "ex parte" (with only the moving party present) the court makes the injunction temporary in duration (usually no more than ten days) and will set up a hearing at which time the opposing party may make its objections. At the hearing at which both sides are present, the parties may offer evidence and the Court can hold a hearing as to why the injuction should remain in effect.

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  • My landlord sent my wife and me a "Notice to Quit" requiring we move by end of February 2013. Does the law require us to SIGN?

    Reason given - Leaking boiler. Repairs extensive will adversely impact our family room in lower level.

    Christopher’s Answer

    To the extent your question is asking whether you are required to sign a notice to quit terminating a tenancy at will, the answer is no. By law, a notice to quit can be served by personal delivery made by a constable or sherieff or by a process server leaving a copy of the notice to quit on your door with a copy of the notice also being mailed to your last known address.

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  • Are Massachusetts tenants at will who received notice to quit REQUIRED BY LAW TO "SIGN" this notice?

    Reason - I do not concur with ALL the langauage in the notice.

    Christopher’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I agree with the answers already provided. There is no legal or procedural requirement for you to sign any notice to quit or otherwise acknowledge service by signature. By law, a sherriff or constable can properly serve the notice to quit by handing it to you or by leaving it on your door and also mailing a copy to your last known address. If you do not agree with the content of the notice to quit, you should be prepared to contest any attempted eviction and consider contacting an attorney.

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  • I need to vacate my condo for 3 to 4 days while repairs involving mold are done. What are my rights?

    The mold and repair work needed is the result of a leak from the dishwasher that I reported to the landlord upon moving in (Sept.). She has sought several estimates and the work is to begin Jan. 28. I have a 3 year old child. We have been asked...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your LL should be required to credit your rent for the cost of making alternative living arrangements during the period of the repairs. If the LL refuses to provide a credt, you can contact the local governmental authority and seek their assistance in compelling the landlord to provide the credit. Ultimately, you could seek relief in the housing court ordering the LL to provide a credit since you are required to leave the rented premises due to an unsanitary condtion.

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  • How responsible am I for leaving my apartment complex due to infestation of mice and roaches after notifying the management of

    this. I had a year's lease; sent letters; returned my keys and never heard from them since July. Now my name given to national credit bureau.

    Christopher’s Answer

    In the event the LL attempts to collect any further rent and/or claim that you breached the lease, you have a defense to any such effort and a counterclaim for damages related to living with such deplorable conditions. I agree that any negative credit report should be disputed immediately. If you have any evidence of the poor conditions, you should preserve that evidnece in the event you end up back in court.

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