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Christopher R. Whittingham
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Christopher Whittingham’s Answers

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  • Can my landlord be liable for monetary damages being served evictions for service dog and therapy companion.

    Had a therapy companion and eventually registered service dog that assisted in many disabilities..epilepsy..ptsd..anxiety..fainting ..agoraphobia which caused weight gain of la few hun lbs that led to me being admitted with pnuemonia cuz of weight...

    Christopher’s Answer

    You also may be covered by laws barring discrimination against the disabled, and requiring landlords to provide a reasonable accommodation, of which service animal can be on, to disabled tenants. There are both state and federal laws protecting most disabled tenants. You should consult with a lawyer. Good luck with this problem.

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  • We want to use the security deposit as the 2nd to last months rent. The landlord is not cooperative. Why shouldn't we?

    Three families have their daughters in a small apartment near the college. We have had a hostile relationship with the landlord and he has threatened in writing to withhold the security deposit due to some imaginary damage to some personal propert...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Because the law says you can't. General Laws Chapter 186 section 15B. The security deposit is held by a landlord to protect against damage to the premises, which damage will not be determined until after the tenants vacate. The landlord has thirty days to return the deposit, or tell you in writing, under oath, why not. The landlord must attach receipts for any repairs that had to be done. The law doesn't allow you to do what you propose. Good luck with your problem.

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  • What happens if I reschedule an in home Dcf visit because I have a landlord apartment inspection

    Scared Dcf will start more problems if thy c inspection here at same time as them n both are demanding to come at same time

    Christopher’s Answer

    Without having more facts, it really is impossible to say whether postponing your DCF visit will harm your case or not. On the other hand, things get rescheduled all the time. A lot depends on whether DCF considers this an emergency, or an urgent matter. You might try to get the landlord's appointment rescheduled. It is difficult to say without knowing exactly what is going on. Don't reply with private details, as this is a public form. If you are involved with DCF, you should see a lawyer.

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  • What happens to people who live in a house after its auctioned off?

    We have been renting our home for 2 years. We were just told today by the owners that the house will up for auction do to foreclosure on July 12th. We are starting paperwork now to get a loan & buy a home (not this one) but since we are first time...

    Christopher’s Answer

    You will not be put out on the date of the auction. You will have time. You have the right to be evicted through legal process and the courts. Here is information put out by the Mass government regarding such situations.
    http://www.mass.gov/ago/consumer-resources/consumer-information/home-and-housing/foreclosures-and-mortgage-lending/information-for-tenants-in-foreclosed-buildings.html
    http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/docs/foreclosure/tenants-rights.pdf
    Good luck with this problem.

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  • If a stay of execution is granted, does the constable have to give an additional 48 hour notice at the end of the stay?

    In a summary process case, if a stay of execution is granted, does the constable have to give an additional 48 hour notice at the end of that stay or can he just show up and evict upon the expiration of the stay?

    Christopher’s Answer

    Yes. The constable or sheriff must serve a new 48 hour notice. The stay of execution changed the date for the eviction, so a new notice is needed. The point of the notice is to provide the tenant with the actual date and time of the eviction. Good luck with this problem.

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  • How can I send Notice to Quit?

    I am planning to serve my tenant a 90-day notice that I am not planning to renew our residential rental agreement. How would I be able to deliver it to them and have proof that it was delivered in case this ends up in court? I've heard using a not...

    Christopher’s Answer

    You should use a sheriff or constable. for service. They will provide you with proof of service. There are several good constables in Fall River. Look them up on line. It is well worth the money. As to whether your notice is proper or not, I would have to have more information. Always use a constable or the sheriff. Consult a lawyer for your eviction. Landlord and tenant law is highly technical and a misstep could result in having your case thrown out of court. Good luck with this problem.

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  • If landlord has listed an incorrect amount that I owe them in the Summons - is it a valid reason to dismiss the case?

    I was already served a 30 day notice to quit for cause: Noise. I was late in paying rent for the current month during which summons was served. However, summons was served for the original cause and also listed the amount I owed. I already paid th...

    Christopher’s Answer

    No, as long as the notice to quit and the complaint comply with the Rules. Often the landlord will file an eviction case for cause, or breach of the lease, and attach an account annexed if the tenant owes rent at the time the case is filed. The amount can be amended at the hearing. Consult a lawyer.

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  • When is Avoidance of Forfeiture a valid defense?

    In what conditions in avoidance of forfeiture a valid defense? Landlord/ Tenant Eviction Trial.

    Christopher’s Answer

    I suppose that avoidance of forfeiture could be raised as a defense in a breach of the lease case in which the breach is de minimis, or in other words, the breach is argued to be so minor that the lease should not be terminated. This would not work in a nonpayment of rent case, a case in which the tenant is alleged to be interfering with the quiet enjoyment of other tenants, a case in which the tenant is causing severe damage to the premises, selling drugs, committing acts of violence, not placing the utilities in his or her name as required by the lease. These are examples were it would not work.

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  • Can an ARC (attorney representing child) be questioned, especially if they're dispensing advice that the court rules upon?

    AN ARC is issuing advice in a visitation case that the judge is basing their rulings upon. The advice is very prejudicial and not representing my 5 yr old son's beliefs. Example: that I shouldn't have visitations with him. ARC says he is above que...

    Christopher’s Answer

    No. An ARC attorney is appointed by the Court to represent the child in usually what is a difficult custody case. As such, the ARC attorney is the child's attorney, and must act as the child directs. This is a difficult job, and one that often puts the ARC attorney at odds with one of the parents. Just as an attorney for one of the parents does not have to explain his or her advice to the other parent, so too, an ARC attorney does not have to explain his or her advice. Often the basis for that advice becomes clear in settlement negotiations. However, often those become very heated because of the appearance of an apparent stranger acting for the child, so the basis for the advice is not disclosed. ARC attorneys must undergo training by the Court before being accepted on a panel.

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  • Can someone represent someone in eviction preceedings (in housing court) without a license to practice law?

    My brother and I have been taking care of our mother for almost 5 years. We moved in with her, re-negotiated rent with the landlord, and have been the only ones to pay rent during that time (we're month to month tenants.) Last year, the landlor...

    Christopher’s Answer

    A lawyer would have to review the paperwork to really provide any information about this. It sounds like your mother signed an agreement for judgment, which usually is an agreement enforced as an order of the court that the tenant vacate the premises by a date certain. If the tenant does not vacate by that date, the landlord can contact a sheriff or constable, have the tenant served with a forty-eight hour notice, and then eject the tenant from the premises. The landlord does not have to return to court in order to regain possession. If other tenants should have been present, and are affected by that agreement, then perhaps a motion to vacate the agreement might be in order., along with a motion to intervene, with a motion for a stay of execution of the judgment. From what you say, It doesn't sound like your mother was acting as a lawyer, it sounds like she was acting without notice to you. If a tenant intends to vacate in the near future, I usually suggest contacting the landlord to buy more time. To be safe, any such agreement should be filed in court. Good luck with this problem. You really should consult a lawyer,.

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