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March 29, 2019 |

Help! My Rental House is Haunted!

It is the stuff of Halloween nightmares.

You are excited to settle into your charming new rental house. You have finally moved all your furniture in and gotten your pictures hung just the way you like them. Dishes are unpacked, clothes are put away, and you lay down to spend your first night in your wonderful new place.

That’s when the noises start. At first you chock them up to sensible things like the sounds of the building settling or inconsiderate neighbors. But as the days and nights pass you just can’t shake off the feeling that something is just not right.

After asking around, you find out that a man was murdered in your new home and the neighbors claim that his ghost still haunts the premises.

You would never have knowingly rented the house if you had been aware of its history and you wonder whether you have the right as a tenant to call your landlord and demand to be let out of your haunted house lease immediately.

Renter Beware

Unfortunately, your landlord does not have to accommodate your request, at least not for the reason you are giving.

Under Massachusetts law, a landlord has no duty to tell you that someone died in the house, let alone that it could be haunted. Such things are not considered “material facts” requiring disclosure under the law.

In fact, a Boston landlord is under no obligation to volunteer that the house you are renting could have adverse psychological impact on any renters because it:

  • Was once occupied by someone with an infectious disease, if reasonable medical evidence suggests that the disease is unlikely to be transmitted from occupying the dwelling
  • Was the site of a felony, suicide or homicide
  • Has been the site of an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.

While the landlord was under no obligation to volunteer this information, had you asked before signing the lease, he or she would have been obligated to at least tell you what they knew about the past history of the residence.

How a Boston Tenant Lawyer Can Help

If you just cannot see yourself continuing to live in a home with a dubious past, you still might have recourse to break your lease. For instance, you may be able to move out prior to your lease expiration if the property is deemed unsafe or you may have an argument that the noises you hear keep you up at night and interfere with your right of quiet enjoyment.

A review of your lease terms may show that you are allowed to sublease the house. Further, your landlord might be amenable to additional solutions that allow you to leave without being held liable for paying rent for the entire lease period.

A Boston tenant lawyer can review your lease with you and advise you on your options for breaking your lease and moving out of the house. To find out more, contact the Law Offices of Shaun A. Hannifin either through our website or by calling 617-848-4572.

Posted in Landlord-Tenant Information

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