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Can I legally withhold my rent ?

Boston, MA |

My apartment was advertised as having a washer and dryer in the unit but the washing machine was actually broken long before I moved in and 3 months later, it still has not been delivered. There is a washer in the basement (I'm on 3rd flr) that we can use but the first floor says we can't use hot water since it is connected to their hot water heater.
Additionally, the house was left in a complete mess with scratches, nails and holes in the walls and with mice. I was accused of lying about seeing mice the first week I lived here and subsequently no one has been to even investigate. I have sent pictures of the feces and still no move on their part even though I have seen mice again. Is this enough to withhold rent legally in Massachusetts?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Contact a landlord/tenant attorney. You may have a good claim for damages, and attorneys fees.

    Do you want accurate, personalized, legal advice that you can rely on? You will have to hire an attorney, not ask on Avvo. I am not your attorney and am not creating an attorney-client relationship by this post. I am therefore giving only general advice. This advice may not apply to you or your situation; may not take account of all possibilities, and may not match the advice I would give to a client. DO NOT rely on this advice or any other advice on Avvo to make your legal decisions. If you want an answer to a legal question you should retain an attorney who is licensed in your state.


  2. In MA a tenant may withold rent, because of uninhabitable conditions or violation of the state sanitary code, but the tenant must meet the conditions and follow the procedure set forth in MGL c. 239 s.8A. I would suggest consulting a Landlord Tenant Attorney. Under the statute, a tenant claiming a defense must pay to the clerk of court the fair value of the use and occupation of the premises less the amount awarded a tenant for any counterclaim or make a deposit of such amount or such installments thereof from time to time as the court may direct, for the occupation of the premises. These funds may be used for repair of the premises and the balance of the funds will be returned to the landlord when all violations have been removed. You also must meet certain other conditions to withold rent. Again, the process is rather complex so I would suggest consulting an attorney.

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