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Basic living rights of tenant at will

Marshfield, MA |
Filed under: Tenant rights

I am renting a room on the top floor of a house. There are two other bedrooms, however they are not being rented at this time. There is no written agreement. When I first spoke with the woman on the first floor, she stated that I have a room and use of the bathroom and a kitchenette area. I have purchased items for standard living purposes. Such as a microwave, toaster oven and griddle for the kitchenette area. I also have my items in the bathroom. Again, I have been the only person on the second floor. The woman on the first floor has someone coming to visit for a brief time and staying in one of the spare rooms. She has started giving me a hard time about items that I have up here and threatened to kick me out. Trying to find out what rights I have. She is not the owner of the house.

Attorney Answers 3


You should speak with the owner of the house, who I presume is your landlord, to find out what areas are covered by your tenancy. I don't see how a woman on the first floor of the house -- who doesn't own the house -- would have the power to kick you out. If she's not your landlord, I wouldn't take any threats she makes like that seriously. She just sounds like an annoyed co-tenant. Unfortunately there's no law against being a bad housemate.

In the future, be sure that your rental arrangements are ALWAYS memorialized in a written agreement to prevent exactly this sort of issue.

Douglas Lloyd is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Answers provided on Avvo are intended for informational purposes only; they are not intended as legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. The material is presented with the understanding and agreement that I am not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services by posting it.

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I disagree with the previous answer. There are good times and good places for use of tenancies-at-will.

As for your "rights", it really depends on the extent of the agreement you had when you moved in. Yes, speak with your landlord. But, also know that with a tenancy-at-will, it is just that. A tenancy that can be severed at the will (albeit with some process and procedure) of either the landlord or tenant.

I am licensed in Massachusetts. Any advice I provide is for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes an attorney/client relationship. If you are in need of legal counsel, you should contact a local attorney.

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You live in a boarding house. If you pay your rent on a weekly basis, you are entitled to 7 day's notice of the landlord's intent to terminate the tenancy. If you pay your rent on a monthly basis, you are entitled to one month's notice. After the notice period is over and you continue to occupy and pay your rent, your landlord must file a complaint in court to start the eviction process.

My answer, above, was meant to help you understand some of the legal issues presented in your summary of the circumstances. It was meant to provide information only. It was not meant to provide you with legal advice or create an attorney client relationship. You should continue to research your situation and take the opportunity to meet with an attorney.

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Thanks. I also found out that the woman who is threatening to kick me out rents from the landlord, but does not have a written lease agreement. She also has not been paying her full rent for quite some time. I pay my rent every month.

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