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The Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act
In the state of Massachusetts, the Consumer Protection Act (G.L. Chapter 93A) protects consumers, including tenants, from unfair and dishonest business practices. Under the Act, business actions that are “unfair or deceptive” are illegal and consumers who are harmed by such practices have the right to file suit in court to recover the money they have lost.
The 30-Day Demand Letter
If you are tenant who has lost money due to the unfair or deceptive actions of a landlord, you may be able to file a legal claim against your landlord. Under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, in order to file a suit, you must first send a 30-day demand letter to the landlord.
In the demand letter you must identify yourself and set forth a reasonable description of the landlord’s unfair or deceptive actions. For example, if something is broken in your apartment and you have asked the landlord to repeatedly fix it but he has not done so, you need to explain the facts. You should list clearly the items in need of repair and include an explanation of any past attempts (with dates) to persuade the landlord to resolve the problem.
You should send the letter by certified mail and keep a copy for your files. An experienced tenant lawyer can answer any questions you may have about the process and help you prepare and send the demand letter to your Boston area landlord.
Once a tenant sends a 30-day demand letter, the landlord has 30 days to negotiate with you in good faith to resolve the issues set forth in the letter. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your landlord, you will have the right to sue your landlord in court. Should the court find that the landlord knowingly ignored your demand letter and/or acted maliciously in failing to remedy the problem, you may be entitled to recover up to three times the amount of your damages.
Because the laws and legal system can be confusing, you should seek advice from an experienced landlord-tenant lawyer before you proceed to court. Your lawyer can explain how the legal process works and help you determine if filing legal action or pursuing an alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation, is the best way to resolve the situation.
Contact Boston Tenant Lawyer Shaun A. Hannafin
The Law Offices of Shaun A. Hannafin is here to help you with your landlord-tenant issues. Our firm advises and represents tenants and landlords throughout the Boston area. If you are a tenant who has not sent an official 30-day demand letter to your landlord, you may have already taken other steps in support of your case.
For instance, if you have sent emails to your landlord describing a problem and asking the landlord to fix it, these emails may be helpful in your claim. When you meet with our firm you should bring copies of these emails along with any other evidence you may have that proves you have notified your landlord of the problem.
We will review your situation and determine the best way to proceed in resolving the matter. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation by calling 617-848-4572.