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Irene H Bagdoian

Irene Bagdoian’s Answers

12 total

  • Can i be evicted?

    i am a tenant at will in massachussets. i currently live in a building that is in the process of a short sale. my hot water and heat was shut off for 2 days due to the fact that my landlord never disclosed that i would have to pay for it and we ha...

    Irene’s Answer

    Your landlord can bring a summary process (eviction) action against you. in either district court or housing court. However, you have valuable counterclaims which could make it difficult for the landlord to succeed in removing you from the premises. Given that the landlord seems fairly desperate to empty the building so that the landlord can accomplish the short sale with the contemplated buyer, you may also have an opportunity to seek $$$$ in exchange for your agreement to move out by a certain date.

    You ought to consult an attorney with experience in landlord/tenant issues to assist you with your case. (For example, if your landlord starts an action against you in the Haverhill District Court, you have the right to transfer the matter to the Northeast Housing Court. This is a very good idea because - I believe - your rights will be better protected in the Housing Court.)

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    I received a "NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE" date within the next 3 months to go to court concerning a credit card debt. I received the summons from a third party debt collector, sent my answer back to the plaintiff and the court and follo...

    Irene’s Answer

    A case management conference is usually the first opportunity for both sides of a lawsuit to see each other and determine the strength of their cases. It's also an opportunity for the court to set a schedule of events which will take place in the course of the lawsuit.

    All lawsuits involve a series of events which ultimately lead to the trial. Before the trial, both parties may collect information (called "discovery") which can be used at the trial. At the case management conference, you can determine a schedule for both parties to produce documents, answer interrogatories (questions about facts), and set up depositions.

    While you can use the case management conference to discuss the case with the other side and discuss potential settlement, you do not have to do so. The only thing you really need to do - as already noted - is to show up!

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  • Is a landlord allowed to tell a tenant that he/she is not allowed to have overnight quests?

    My daughters landlord questioned her on how often her boyfriend stays overnight to which her reply is 3 - 4 times a week. He then proceed to tell her that he (boyfriend) is not allowed to stay overnight any longer. He stated that there is not en...

    Irene’s Answer

    If your daughter's tenancy is subsidized under the Section 8 program or another rental subsidy program, there IS a limit on the number of nights she may have a guest (14 days in a year). This rule was established to ensure that the income of everyone who regularly stays at the apartment is counted in the rent calculation. Otherwise, taxpayers would be paying a higher rent subsidy than the tenant was really entitled to.

    However, if your daughter's tenancy is not subsidized, her landlord cannot arbitrarily limit her guests, including her male guests.

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  • Can I get arrested for not showing up for court in a eviction case, when I have already moved and gave them the keys back?

    I got a summons for court requesting me to be evicted. I moved out and turned over the keys to the office of the apartment complex. Will I get a warrant if I do not show up, because I don't think I should have to go. They have the apartment and ...

    Irene’s Answer

    An eviction is not a criminal matter and the penalty for failing to appear in a civil matter is a default judgment against you.

    To protect your rights, you should appear at the court hearing to ensure that your case is dismissed and the landlord does not have an opportunity to "pull a fast one on you."

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  • Question regarding whether one roomate under Tenants in Common can prevent a dog from being allowed in a house.

    I am a co-owner of a single family home in the Boston, MA area. I am one of five males who own the home, with all five of us on the loan under Tenants In Common. We purchased this property in lieu of renting and have owned it since Jan. 22, 2008...

    Irene’s Answer

    In the early days of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when people lived close to each other and all decisions affected everyone, decisions were made by consensus - not by majority rule.

    It is still true today that families, small businesses, and other small groups function better when decisions affecting the whole group are made by consensus.

    Having said this, I believe you should consider the impact on your homelife before bringing a dog into the house. Families don't typically acquire a dog unless everyone in the family agrees with the decision.
    While a dog may make you very happy, this dog will cause unnecessary conflict with your housemates and could force a partitiion action in Superior Court which is lengthy and expensive. Is this risk worth it?

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  • If a tenant has stopped paying rent, how long do you have to give him on a notice to quit to pay up or move out

    If a tenant has stopped paying rent, how long do you have to give him on a notice to quit to pay up or move out

    Irene’s Answer

    If your tenant is delinquent in paying his or her rent, Massachusetts law permits you to serve upon your tenant a 14-Day Notice to Quit. If the tenant has not been served a 14-Day Notice to Quit in the previous year, the tenant may cure the non-payment by making full payment of the rent to you within 10 days of receiving the notice to quit.

    If the tenant does not cure within 10 days and after the 14 days has elapsed, you may start a summary process (eviction) action in district court or, if the property is in Acushnet, the Southeastern Housing Court.

    You cannot simply throw out a tenant who does not pay rent (or change the locks or take any other self-help measures), as Massachusetts requires a full judicial procedure. Once you have won your case in district or housing court and have received an Execution (the piece of paper allowing you to move out your tenant) you must contact the county sheriff or a constable skilled in service of process to begin the process of moving your tenants out.

    Be careful about evicting tenants who claim they are withholding rent because of unsanitary conditions. You may find yourself in the uncomfortable position of defending counterclaims for the breach of warranty of habitability, unlawful retaliation, etc. If the judge finds for the tenant, you may owe the tenant more than the tenant owes you....

    If you need legal assistance in a thorny eviction case. consider retaining an attorney with experience in housing law.

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  • Landlord tenant laws in MA, co tenant's rights at removing other person's property

    I'm not sure which category this question falls under. I broke up with my boyfriend about 2 months ago and i have been asking him to remove all his personal property from my house. He refuses saying he isn't moving out. He is not on the lease and ...

    Irene’s Answer

    You don't state whether your ex-boyfriend is, in fact, still living with you in your apartment, whether he paid rent, and whether the landlord knew that he was living with you. Moreover, you seem to suggest that this is a "criminal matter", but you don't discuss whether you obtained a Chapter 209A restraining order against your ex-boyfriend (to prevent him from coming near you or the premises) because of violent or threatening behavior toward you. This information is important in determining what advice I would give to you.

    Generally, a person does not necessarily have to be on the lease to be considered a "tenant." under Massachusetts law. If your ex-boyfriend paid rent and rent was accepted by either you or your landlord, many courts will find that a tenancy exists which can only be terminated in accordance with Massachusetts notice requirements.

    If, on the other hand, your ex-boyfriend is no longer living with you, but still has his belongings at the premises, you could obtain a temporary restraining order from the Boston Housing Court requiring him to remove his belongings from the premises within a set period or the belongings would be deemed abandoned. Housing Court judges are accustomed to hearing and granting such requests. Obtaining such a restraining order will protect you from future claims against you by your ex-boyfriend

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  • Notice to Quit

    Can a landlord give a verbal 30 day notice and then after extended the 30 day notice provide a notice to quit if rent is not behind?

    Irene’s Answer

    Under Massachusetts law, your landlord's "verbal" 30-day notice to quit has no legal significance because a notice to terminate a tenancy must be in writing.

    If you are behind on your rent, your landlord has the right to terminate your tenancy upon 14 days' notice. If you receive a 14 day notice to quit and you have not received another notice to quit for non-payment of rent in the past 12 months, you may cure the non-payment by paying the full amount of the arrearage to your landlord within 10 days of receiving the notice to quit.

    Your landlord always retains the right to terminate a tenancy at will upon 30 days' notice. Your landlord needs no reason to terminate your tenancy under a 30-day notice to quit. As long as your landlord complies with the notice requirements and allows the 30 day period to elapse, your landlord may start a summary process (eviction) action against you. If you live in Quincy, your landlord will bring the eviction case in the Quincy District Court.

    Irene H. Bagdoian
    Richardson and Tyler LLP

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  • Court Summons

    I received a court summons on 11-07-08. It states that I have 20 days to respond from which it was served. I filed my response with the plaintiff today, via fax per their request. I just noticed that the summons also states that I need to file ...

    Irene’s Answer

    Under the rules of civil procedure, you need to file a written answer to the complaint and serve it upon the plaintiff (or plaintiff's attorney) within 20 days after you were served the complaint. A proper answer admits or denies each numbered paragaph of the complaint. The answer may also contain "affirmative defenses" which set forth reasons why the complaint is deficient or the case cannot result in a judgment for the plaintiff.

    Depending on the nature of the case, you may wish to consult an attorney to assist you in filing and serving a proper answer to the complaint. You may also wish to retain an attorney to defend you in this case. Although a good attorney is not inexpensive, a good trial attorney is skilled at getting the best possible result for his or her client. Further, if the case goes to trial, the attorney knows the rules of evidence and procedure and is skilled at examining and cross-examining witnesses.

    Good luck in handling your case. However, if you feel you may need additional assistance, please feel free to contact our firm.

    Irene H. Bagdoian
    Richardson and Tyler, LLP
    (781) 341-0000

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  • Land lord tenant dispute

    I moved into an apartment 09-01-2008 and the first night I came back to the apartment and there were locks on all the gates and I was locked out for the night. Then the second day the cable guy came out to install the internet and the landlord cha...

    Irene’s Answer

    It sounds like you and your landlord are on a collision course which began almost as soon as you moved into your current apartment. Although a judge previously granted a restraining order, your latest court appearance did not result in a restraining order - which is highly unusual when a landlord turns off water and locks a tenant out of the premises. It appears - for some reason not explained in your question - that the judge was not persuaded by your side of the story.

    Honestly, your situation sounds like a poisonous relationship which cannot be "cured" For the sake of your sanity and the safety of your children, I advise you to look for another apartment and, when you find one, to notify your landlord of your intention to move out. Any claims for retaliation, lock-out or whatever will still exist if you decide to file them after you have moved out.

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