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Steven Matthew Ayr

Steven Ayr’s Answers

19 total


  • Have a tenant renting one bedroom in a three bed room apt the other two tenants left what are my rights about interring apt

    looking to evict she does not want to pay rent and owes back rent

    Steven’s Answer

    I agree with the prior answer that you should contact an attorney because your next steps will be heavily dependent on what exactly your agreements say and whether or not the tenant was renting a single room or was one of several people renting the whole unit.

    I wanted to write separately just to specifically caution you regarding entry into the unit. Landlords typically have the right to enter an apartment for repairs, or to show the unit to prospective renters or purchasers with a certain amount of notice , as outlined in a lease. If there's no lease, a landlord's right to enter, even with reasonable notice, becomes much more murky. As such, particularly where there's rent owed and an eviction is on the horizon, I would advise a landlord to enter only out of necessity and only upon agreement with the tenant. Unlawful entry can lead to claims of Breach of Quiet Enjoyment or Retaliation, both of which can ruin an eviction action and lead to a lot of liability.

    In other words, in your situation it's always best to err on the side of caution. Good luck.

    -Steve

    The Law Office of Steven M. Ayr
    711 Atlantic Ave, Lower Level
    Boston, MA 02111
    617 398 0297
    steve@AyrLaw.com

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  • I signed up for a one year lease agreement for a space for a commercial space, but it rolled into a five year agreement.

    Apparently in the lease, there was a clause that if I don't cancel after a year. Then my lease will automatically roll into a five year lease. Business is poor, and I want to close out the business. However, I have to keep the business since I ...

    Steven’s Answer

    I agree that, ultimately, you should have an attorney take a look at the lease to help you determine what your options are. Unlike residential tenancies, commercial tenancies are relatively unregulated by statute, and therefore governed almost entirely by what is in any particular commercial lease agreement.

    With that said, one of the options that you may have is a sublet. That is, if you'd like to close the business but not be responsible for the monthly rent, you may be able to re-rent the space to another business. This option, of course, comes with its own set of legal considerations, including what kind of approval is needed from the landlord, what should a sub-tenant be allowed to do with the space, etc., and practical considerations like hiring a broker and finding a tenant, but it may be a viable alternative to either continuing a business that failing or incurring liability by breaching a lease.

    Best of luck!

    -Steve

    The Law Office of Steven M. Ayr
    711 Atlantic Ave, Lower Level
    Boston, MA 02111
    617 398 0297
    steve@ayrlaw.com

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  • How to negotiate compensation from home depot.

    I've been out of work, and I have a dining room that I want to make it a room and rent it to get the income. to do so I needed to install 3 doors to make it a private room, also wanted to install another door in the living room. I contacted watert...

    Steven’s Answer

    This sounds like a tremendously frustrating situation, and I know that your focus at this juncture is on any possible recovery from Home Depot, but I think that you may have bigger legal fish to fry. Frankly, from your description it sounds as though you may be running an illegal rooming house by renting out rooms, that may or may not be bedrooms, to several unrelated persons. In Massachusetts, a rooming house is any dwelling wherein four or more unrelated parties (and unrelated to the landlord) rent single rooms as opposed to an entire apartment. Rooming houses have all kinds of separate licensing requirements.

    In Massachusetts, and in Boston in particular, even when a lodging isn't a rooming house there are several things that a landlord has to do to make sure they're complying with applicable law. In Boston, the very first thing that a landlord must now do is register with the City of Boston Inspectional Services Department. You can do so via their website, located here:

    http://www.cityofboston.gov/isd/housing/rental.asp

    As part of the registration process, the property will eventually also have to be inspected, meaning it must be in compliance with all relevant provisions of the State Sanitary Code. As part of that, no tenant can be charged for utility service that they don't use. In the context of an individual renting a single room, that means they can't be charged for utilities common to the apartment and all of its occupants.

    This is a very small subset of all the applicable considerations and regulations when becoming a landlord. I'd highly recommend contacting a landlord/tenant lawyer to talk through your situation and make sure that something you're doing to make a little extra money isn't going to create a lot more liability.

    Good luck!

    ________
    Steven M. Ayr
    The Law Office of Steven M. Ayr
    711 Atlantic Ave, Lower Level
    Boston, MA 02111
    617 398 0297

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  • Can I moved in with my mom even though I'm not on the lease and she has section 8 too?

    My mom has section 8 and I'm not on the lease

    Steven’s Answer

    The short answer is absolutely not, and in that I agree with Atty. Megaloudis. While occasionally a tenant will get away with having an additional occupant, I've seen way too many tenants get in trouble over this, most of whom thought they weren't doing anything wrong. Generally speaking, this kind of thing almost always catches up with a tenant. When a Section 8 tenant is caught for this kind of action, the Housing Authority has the option of terminating the tenancy, terminating the subsidy, and evicting the tenant. Where Section 8 housing is in such short supply, the waiting list is so long, and the rules so strict, getting evicted for having an unauthorized occupant essentially guarantees that a tenant will never be able to get Section 8 subsidized housing again. The result is frequently homelessness. So I would advise against this course of action in the strongest terms possible, lest you jeopardize not only your own housing, but your mother's as well.

    The proper way to do things is to contact your property manager (if in public housing) or your Housing Authority (if on a Section 8 voucher) and begin the process for adding you to the lease. As Atty. Megaloudis said, this will involve submitting your financial information to the Housing Authority, and meeting all other eligibility criteria. Only once you've been formally added on to the lease can you stay with your mother permanently.

    Of course, other issues may come up. Your mother's apartment may not be appropriately sized for the both of you to live there, in which case the two of you will likely have to get on a wait list for an appropriately sized apartment. Adding your income may also disqualify the two of you from receiving benefits if your income is too high.

    I'd highly recommend you contact either Greater Boston Legal Services or the Volunteer Lawyers Project to discuss these potential issues and others with a housing attorney familiar with the demands of the Section 8 program. Alternatively, you can go to Boston Housing Court on Wednesday mornings and speak with someone at the Lawyer For The Day table on the 5th floor.

    Best of luck.

    -Steve Ayr
    ________
    Steven M. Ayr
    The Law Office of Steven M. Ayr
    711 Atlantic Ave, Lower Level
    Boston, MA 02111
    617 398 0297

    See question 
  • What legal issues do I need to consider if I want to start a crowd-funding site where the money is being sent outside the US?

    I want to start a crowdfunding site that allows people of the middle east to set up campaigns. I am concerned about the following issues: 1. any money laundering/currency exchange fraud issues? 2. liability if the money ends up in the ha...

    Steven’s Answer

    I'm going to agree with Attorney Camm, an explanation of the depth and breadth of the legal considerations you're going to have to take into account is well beyond the scope of what can responsibly be provided on this site. Suffice it to say, you're going to have to deal with issues ranging from formation, to banking, to securities regulation, to international trade.

    At this juncture, as you explore the viability of this potential business, I think the most important thing you can do is put together a team of competent professionals who can help you think through all the myriad issues that may arise and how to best deal with them. Among them, I'd include a great accountant, a banker or merchant account servicer, and one or more attorneys (possibly more than one since few are likely to have a specialization in all the areas you'll need covered).

    -Steve Ayr

    ________
    Steven M. Ayr
    The Law Office of Steven M. Ayr
    711 Atlantic Ave, Lower Level
    Boston, MA 02111
    617 398 0297

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  • Do regular landlord- tenant laws (940 CMR 3.17) apply to subleases for more then 100 days?

    I subleased an apartment to study for the bar in Boston. Now the girl I subleased from does not want to return the security deposit. She emailed me a list of what was wrong (without prices!) 15 days after lease termination. Only after I sent an of...

    Steven’s Answer

    The Massachusetts statute governing security deposits is G.L. c. 186, s. 15B. So long as a tenancy is created, 15B doesn't place any minimum time that must be reached in order for its provisions to go into effect. In other words, as long there's a tenancy, 15B will apply to a security deposit held for one day in the same way it will apply to a deposit held for 100 days.

    While it's not explicit in your question, it sounds like there was a lease and as such there shouldn't be a question whether it was a tenancy or not, it sounds like it was. Your landlord then (the person you sub-leased from) was required to give you a legally proper notice of deductions or return your full deposit within 30 days. Since she didn't do that, it would appear that you have a valid claim for triple damages, costs, and attorney's fees under the statute. This kind of violation acts like flipping a switch, now that she's flipped it she's liable, and even returning the full deposit at this point won't limit her liability for triple damages, costs and fees.

    Obviously, this answer is based on some assumptions, so as always I recommend sitting down with a landlord/tenant who can look at all of your documents and give you a more decisive answer. Hope you recently got some good news about the exam!

    -Steve Ayr

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  • Rental increase

    Is a rental increase may be any amount the landlord wishes to charge ?? MA rental with lease options

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    To address your additions:

    In Massachusetts there's no timetable on which any renovations or maintenance work has to be done in order for a rented unit to be legal. Generally speaking, the unit just has to remain in compliance with the State Sanitary Code and with any local ordinances. Typically, this isn't a particularly high bar to meet, and it is divorced from any aesthetic standards. In other words, things don't have to look good, they just have to function as they're supposed to. As long as they do, the landlord isn't obligated to update.

    With that being said, if your landlord hasn't undertaken basic maintenance for 11 years, it's likely some code violations exist. You can call your local health department to schedule an inspection and find out. The landlord will then have to fix any violations that are found.

    As a practical matter though, if your landlord hasn't done any work on the unit in 11 years and is now looking for additional rent, this may not be a person you want to keep renting from.

    Good luck.

    -Steven Ayr

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  • My downstairs neighbor has me feeling harassed

    My fiance' and I have owned and lived in a garden style condo for five years now. We have never had a single complaint or issue with any neighbors. The unit below us has been sub-letted to different people since we moved in. About six months ago ...

    Steven’s Answer

    Attorney Robbins' answer is an excellent one, to which I'd add only one other consideration.

    Generally speaking, if a neighbor is creating a nuisance and that neighbor is a renter, they're likely also breaching their lease. By documenting incidents of harassment or nuisance, you can not only allow your attorney to determine whether you have a cause of action against the neighbors, but you may also be able to provide documentation that their landlord could use to then proceed with an eviction action.

    In so much as it seems like you have a good relationship with the super and what you really want is for them to be gone, this may be another viable alternative to discuss with your attorney.

    Best of luck!

    -Steven Ayr

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  • Can a management company charge the sublessee or sublettor a realtor's fee?

    The sublettor did the work to find the replacement.

    Steven’s Answer

    As Attorney Hammarlund rightly points out, this is typically going to be controlled by your lease, so that's going to be the most important document.

    Where a landlord is attempting to charge a tenant a fee, though (whether residential or commercial), I always stress the importance of gathering ALL the documentation surrounding the fee. That is, not just the lease, but in a case of a realtor's fee, the documentation that the landlord has that establishes why a fee was due, how it was paid, and who it was paid by. That way, a tenant can be sure that they are in fact liable for a fee (and that a fee was actually paid), before shelling out any money. If a management company is reputable and well-run, they shouldn't have an issue producing this documentation.

    What's also important to note is that a landlord cannot evict a tenant for non-payment when what hasn't been paid is a fee. Tenants can only be evicted for non-payment when the money left unpaid is rent. In other words, if a tenant demands to see documentation to substantiate the fee, the landlord cannot validly respond by threatening eviction for non-payment. The important caveat is that if the fee is valid and provable, most leases make non-payment a breach of the lease, which could give rise to a for-cause eviction. However, any reasonable landlord with the documentation to prove such a claim would be more likely to provide that documentation to the tenant and give them an opportunity to pay rather than bring an eviction action for breach of the lease.

    All that is to say, before paying any suspect fees, make sure the landlord has substantiated them with documentation, including documents beyond the lease if necessary.

    Best of luck.

    -Steven M. Ayr

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  • I received a PHONY 14 day notice to quit by Certified Mail.Landlord has not retained attorney listed in the document.

    What kind of recourse do I have since the landlord has sent me a PHONY document???

    Steven’s Answer

    To add a thought to the excellent answers above, anytime a landlord misrepresents something with regards to the tenancy, there's a potential violation of 93A, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute. Here, if the landlord is misrepresenting the source of the notice to quit for the purpose of intimidating tenants, I think there's a potential violation.

    However, as the attorneys above note, the real focus here should be on whether this case will proceed to court and whether the notice is valid for those purposes. If a Summary Process complaint is filed, that's the best time to allege any 93A violations by way of a timely Answer with Jury Demand.

    Best of luck.

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