My colleague has a 1 year lease and has lived in his apartment for 17 years. The landlord has given him a 30 day eviction notice due to neighbor complaints. My colleague is a hoarder. If my colleague has the apartment professionally cleaned out, can the landlord still move forward on the eviction? This is the first time the landlord has voiced a complaint. Other than the hoarding, this person is a very good tenant. Doesn't my colleague have the opportunity to rectify the problem before they try to evict him? How do we deem the hoarding as a disability? What can I do to help. Do we write to the landlord assuring that the apartment will be cleaned, but that he is not moving out?
The hoarding may be due to mental illness, which would then be a disability by impairing your colleague in one or more life activities. Your colleague can request a reasonable accommodation (i.e. to overlook any alleged lease violation while he gets the mess cleaned up).
Your colleague should speak with an attorney immediately, preferably a housing and/or elderly law attorney well versed in issues surrounding hoarding. If he meets eligibility criteria, he may receive free legal help through one of these sources (Greater Boston Legal Services is a leader in housing advocacy):
Yes, he should get legal help immediately. Since there is a written lease, and he is attempting to terminate early, it is important to understand its terms - can he evict on 30 days notice, for what reasons, and most importantly, does the less provide a time period to fix this, what will be called an opportunity to "cure" the alleged breach. Get that legal help to address all of this.
I agree with the advice of my colleagues. I would add that it can be helpful to try to talk to the landlord. Sometimes landlords send a notice to quit as a way to get a tenant's attention so that the tenant will address an issue (in this case, the hoarding). It may be that the landlord really wants your friend out and intends to proceed with the eviction, or it may be that he just wants the issue fixed, particularly if your friend has otherwise been a good tenant for so long. It couldn't hurt to discuss the situation with the landlord and see exactly what he is looking for. Maybe an agreement could be reached whereby your friend could agree to clean out the apartment by a certain date and promise to keep it reasonably clear of clutter going forward and in exchange the landlord could agree not to proceed with the eviction. Strictly speaking, however, the landlord doesn't have to give him a chance to correct the problem (since he may be able to argue the existence of the clutter is already a breach of the lease), and he could decide to proceed with the eviction anyway, but a judge may be more understanding if, by the time of trial, your friend can say that place is cleaned up. Good luck!
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.
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