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Landlord fined me for not cleaning common hallway.

Boston, MA |

There is a common hallway shared by me and a few other units. The landlord rotates us in cleaning duties. If we don't perform the cleaning, we're fined. I have been fined in the past, and not thought anything of it.

However, after reading the state sanitary code (105 CMR 410.602D in particular), I believe this is illegal. The code states:

"In any dwelling, the owner shall be responsible for maintaining in a clean and sanitary condition free of garbage, rubbish, other filth or causes of sickness that part of the dwelling which is used in common by the occupants and which is not occupied or controlled by one occupant exclusively."

While it may seem trivial I do want to pursue any action available to me. Could this be put in a lease legally? If not, could I sue? Call the DOPH?


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Attorney answers 3


You're right; it's illegal. Call a local tenant's attorney.

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That LL has got some nerve. Not sure what you'll be able to get back since you agreed to his request--but next time your shift comes up--consider being a no show.

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Depending on what is in your lease, requiring you to clean a common area that you don't have sole access and control does violate the law. A provision for "fining" you also likely violates the consumer protection statute. Talk to a lawyer... What is happening doesn't sound lawful.

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