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In the State of Massachusetts, is a verbal contract legally binding?

Worcester, MA |

A landlord and a tenant discussed some work to be done at the tenant's residence, the owner informed the tenant to keep track of the hours @ $25.00 an hour. The home owner is now refusing to pay saying there was no contract and he is claiming the tenant did the work as a favor to the landlord. Would the verbal contract and showing of the completed work be enough to recover due wages? Simple plumbing, cleaning, concrete work, snow shoveling, deicing (furnished over 300 lbs. of rock salt...

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

It certainly could be legally binding. The issue is probably one of proving it, which might depend on testimony, witnesses, etc. You may also have other arguments to make about compensation - for example, if the work that the tenant has done was actually the legal responsibility of the landlord, then it may not matter as to whether there was an oral contract since a court could determine that the tenant is entitled to damages for the landlord's failure to make repairs. I would suggest you speak with an attorney about the facts of the situation and evidence you have that you did the repairs and that they were necessary.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

Asker

Posted

Excellent view, i was informed that he was going to hire an expensive plow truck to do the snow removal portion of the maintenance on the property, however, I informed him of a general hourly labor cost of $25.00 an hour, he agreed saying he could pay me when his income tax check comes in in 2013. I also did cosmetic work in the basement to stop squeaky floors on the first floor, and sealed a large area of concrete steps that became an endangerment, rebuilding one exterior corner of the foundation of the home that was falling in...I have marked down approximately 150 hours @ $25.00, he owes approximately $3750.00 labor, plus $150.00 for approximately 300 lbs. of salt provided by me for the deicing of the steps and driveway (approximately 6 storms this winter), total $3900.00 since September 2012, the issues came up when I requested money to purchase more salt because of the now pending Storm "Nemo" and was refused any money and the landlord informed that I should furnish the salt because I live there and use the steps. as far as shoveling and deicing the driveway, I don't own a vehicle and never have while living here. He has children he puts in a private school across the street from where I reside and we had discussed the "great work I was providing. This is a three Decker home and all floors are rented. Some disabled individuals living here. The other tenants never have touched a shovel or broom to do any of the work her, I repaired/rebuilt hydraulic doors controllers, and maintained a major clean up after the roof was replaced by a very messy company (black tar dust everywhere).

Posted

You can sue on this. Winning is another thing. It depends on the amount.



henry lebensbaum esq 300 Brickstone Sq Ste 201 andover, ma -- attorneylebensbaum@verizon.net (978) 749-3606.
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Asker

Posted

Mr. Henry Lebenbaum had an excellent answer, I called and received an very professional response to several question. Thank You Sir.

Henry Lebensbaum

Henry Lebensbaum

Posted

Let me know what happens. henry lebensbaum esq 300 Brickstone Sq Ste 201 andover, ma -- attorneylebensbaum@verizon.net (978) 749-3606. Criminal Law (all courts), Drunk Driving, Drugs, Violence, Sex Offenses, theft, SORB, Divorce Child Custody Alimony Child Support & Modification, Contempts & Paternity Juveniles Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders, Business Law, Personal Injury, Guardianship, Conservatorship & Estate Administration & Legal Malpractice. For these & other areas, contact me. Email sent may be copied intercepted or held by computers.

Asker

Posted

i was informed that he was going to hire an expensive plow truck to do the snow removal portion of the maintenance on the property, however, I informed him of a general hourly labor cost of $25.00 an hour, he agreed saying he could pay me when his income tax check comes in in 2013. I also did cosmetic work in the basement to stop squeaky floors on the first floor, and sealed a large area of concrete steps that became an endangerment, rebuilding one exterior corner of the foundation of the home that was falling in...I have marked down approximately 150 hours @ $25.00, he owes approximately $3750.00 labor, plus $150.00 for approximately 300 lbs. of salt provided by me for the deicing of the steps and driveway (approximately 6 storms this winter), total $3900.00 since September 2012, the issues came up when I requested money to purchase more salt because of the now pending Storm "Nemo" and was refused any money and the landlord informed that I should furnish the salt because I live there and use the steps. as far as shoveling and deicing the driveway, I don't own a vehicle and never have while living here. He has children he puts in a private school across the street from where I reside and we had discussed the "great work I was providing. This is a three Decker home and all floors are rented. Some disabled individuals living here. The other tenants never have touched a shovel or broom to do any of the work her, I repaired/rebuilt hydraulic doors controllers, and maintained a major clean up after the roof was replaced by a very messy company (black tar dust everywhere). The pointing of the basement was estimated @ $6000.00, the installation of the support columns that the home owner provided is an additional $2700.00 (6 columns), in addition to pouring concrete on the entire basement floor (1500 square feet @ $10.00 a square foot) for $15,000.00, Pouring a base for an exiting chimney in severe damage and re-pointing the north side of the home...$2500.00, work had started on all the above but due to bad weather was properly delayed and agreed upon by the home owner and me and another mason. I rebuilt the hall timer after it quit working and his electrician failed to understand the mechanics of the machine (safety lights for the hallways on the landlords electrical power box. replaced severely damaged/leaking water line ans installed a bathroom faucet and drain in his presence. The list goes on and on, in my opinion they purchased a money pit and looked for my experience for the repairs. I have worked in the residential construction field for approximately 35 years. These projects came one at a time and before he had realized he had no money, the promise to pay in the spring was made. He will not deny that I did the work, he just denies the agreement we had for payment in the spring. So technically he owes me a very substantial amount of money, he has ordered me to stop because he says he will not pay me what is owed to me and the 2nd mason involved. He also informed me that he wanted to set up a work shop in the basement for the different jobs that were needed in and out of the structure. I was supposed to build a very large handicap ramp & deck in the spring, valued at $20,000.00...yes I will let you know what happens when I seek an Attorney and file my suit.

Posted

The tenant can probably win on this suit. There's no basis for tenants to "do favors for" landlords, and Mass. law is very biased towards the tenants.

Contact a landlord/tenant attorney.

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.

Asker

Posted

Thank You Erik, its unanomous Some of the projected jobs were started with another mason present, proving what was said is no problem seeing there was no hearsay.. Excellent view, i was informed that he was going to hire an expensive plow truck to do the snow removal portion of the maintenance on the property, however, I informed him of a general hourly labor cost of $25.00 an hour, he agreed saying he could pay me when his income tax check comes in in 2013. I also did cosmetic work in the basement to stop squeaky floors on the first floor, and sealed a large area of concrete steps that became an endangerment, rebuilding one exterior corner of the foundation of the home that was falling in...I have marked down approximately 150 hours @ $25.00, he owes approximately $3750.00 labor, plus $150.00 for approximately 300 lbs. of salt provided by me for the deicing of the steps and driveway (approximately 6 storms this winter), total $3900.00 since September 2012, the issues came up when I requested money to purchase more salt because of the now pending Storm "Nemo" and was refused any money and the landlord informed that I should furnish the salt because I live there and use the steps. as far as shoveling and deicing the driveway, I don't own a vehicle and never have while living here. He has children he puts in a private school across the street from where I reside and we had discussed the "great work I was providing. This is a three Decker home and all floors are rented. Some disabled individuals living here. The other tenants never have touched a shovel or broom to do any of the work her, I repaired/rebuilt hydraulic doors controllers, and maintained a major clean up after the roof was replaced by a very messy company (black tar dust everywhere).

Asker

Posted

Some of the jobs were in the neighborhood of $30,000.00, we were informed to supply the material (pallets of concrete, and beams, blocks, etc...) we were on the verge of purchasing to finish the job when the blizzard came up and the discussion of shoveling (inexpensive Vs. Plowing expensive), at that point I informed the landlord that i wouls "put the charges onthe list", at that point he said to stop everything, that he was not going to pay anything when he recieved his income tax check because of the new tax codes and expenses he would be enduring.

Erik Hammarlund

Erik Hammarlund

Posted

I would stop posting detail here. You should really contact a local attorney.

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