Articles Posted in Landlord - Tenant

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Bahig Bishay brought an action bringing various claims arising from Plaintiff’s eviction from his home. Bishay named as defendants National Investigations, Inc. and its principals (collectively, National), Harvard 45 Associates, LLC and its principals (collectively, Harvard), and Allied Finance Adjusters Conference, Inc. (Allied). Allied’s motion to dismiss was allowed. Also allowed was Harvard’s motion for summary judgment as to both the claims against it and a counterclaim it asserted against Bishay. Thereafter, Bishay and National (collectively, Petitioners) settled their dispute and moved for entry of final judgment. The motion was denied. Petitioners then filed a petition seeking relief in the nature of mandamus and requesting that the clerk of the superior court be ordered to enter final judgment as Petitioners proposed. A single justice denied relief without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused her discretion by denying extraordinary relief, as Petitioners had other remedies available to them. View "Bishay v. Clerk of the Superior Court in Norfolk County" on Justia Law

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Landlord brought a summary process action against Tenant for possession of the premises. Tenant counterclaimed, alleging violations of the security deposit statute and other causes of action. The Housing Court found in favor of Landlord on all but the security deposit claim, ruling that Tenant could properly assert a violation of the security deposit statute as a counterclaim for damages but that a counterclaim on this basis was not a defense to Landlord’s claim for possession. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the Housing Court judgment granting possession to Landlord, holding that a counterclaim or defense on the basis of a violation of the security deposit statute may be asserted as a defense to a landlord’s possession in a summary process action under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 239, 1A. View "Meikle v. Nurse" on Justia Law

Posted in: Landlord - Tenant

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Defendants, the principals and owners of Burbank Apartments (Burbank), decided not to renew Burbank’s project-based Section 8 housing assistance payments contract (HAP) with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development when its mortgage subsidy contract expired. Instead of the project-based subsidies, Defendants chose to accept from its tenants Section 8 enhanced vouchers. Plaintiffs, current and potential Burbank tenants, filed a complaint alleging subsidy discrimination in violation of Massachusetts antidiscrimination law and the Federal Fair Housing Act. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that Defendants’ decision not to renew the HAP was discriminatory based on both disparate treatment and disparate impact on members of otherwise protected classes of citizens. The motion judge granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss both counts for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) even where the property owner has acted in accord with statute, regulation, and contract, a disparate impact claim can be brought under the fair housing statutes, subject to “rigorous pleading requirements”; but (2) Plaintiffs in this case failed sufficiently to plead a prima facie case of disparate impact discrimination. View "Burbank Apartments Tenant Ass’n v. Kargman" on Justia Law

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Trenea Figgs was a participant in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 program, which was administered by the Boston Housing Authority. After the discovery by police officers of marijuana and a loaded firearm in Figgs’s apartment, the BHA notified Figgs of its intent to terminate her participation in the Section 8 program due to violations of her lease. A hearing officer concluded that termination of Figgs’s Section 8 housing subsidy was proper in light of her serious lease violation. The Housing Court reversed and ordered the BHA to reinstate Figgs’s Section 8 housing subsidy. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the judgment of the Housing Court, holding that, notwithstanding the enactment of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C, 32L, which decriminalized the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, the hearing officer properly concluded that Figgs violated her lease based on evidence of other criminal activity in Figgs’s rental premises, and the violation warranted Figgs’s termination from the Section 8 program. View "Figgs v. Boston Housing Auth." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was injured when he unsuccessfully tried to flip into an inflatable pool from a trampoline that had been set up directly adjacent to the pool in the backyard of a property he was renting from Defendants. Plaintiff filed a claim for negligence against Defendants for setting up and maintaining the trampoline next to the pool and for failing to warn him of the danger of jumping from the trampoline into the pool. The trial court ruled in favor of Defendants. The appeals court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a landowner has a duty to remedy an open and obvious danger where he has created and maintained that danger with the knowledge that lawful entrants would choose to encounter it despite the obvious risk of doing so; and (2) the judge erred in instructing the jury to cease deliberations if they concluded that the danger was open and obvious, and should have further instructed the jury that a landowner is not relieved from remedying open and obvious dangers where he can or should anticipate that the dangerous condition will cause physical harm to the lawful entrant notwithstanding its known or obvious danger. View "Dos Santos v. Coleta" on Justia Law

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Landlord and Tenant entered into a twelve-year lease for commercial space. The lease required a separate guaranty agreement to be executed by Guarantor. Tenant stopped making rent payments a couple of years later, and thereafter, Landlord reentered and took possession of the premises, thereby terminating the lease. Landlord subsequently filed suit against Tenant and Guarantor for damages arising from the breach of contract. The superior court granted summary judgment to Landlord as to liability and awarded damages in the amount of $1,092,653, for which Tenant and Guarantor were jointly liable. The appeals court affirmed in part and vacated the judgment assessing damages and remanded. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the part of the judgment finding Tenant liable for breach of the lease and assessing damages for the period before termination of the lease in the amount of $37,276 plus prejudgment interest; and (2) vacated the part of the judgment assessing damages for the period following termination of the lease and awarding attorney's fees. View "275 Washington St. Corp. v. Hudson River Int'l, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a complaint against Chukwuma Azubuko for failure to pay rent. Azubuko, in turn, filed a third-party complaint against the Commonwealth, two cities, and a town, asserting various constitutional, statutory, and common-law claims and contending that these governmental entities were liable for paying his rent. A district court judge dismissed the third-party claims and later dismissed the underlying complaint when Plaintiff and Azubuko failed to appear. Azubuko subsequently sought mandamus relief. A single justice of the Supreme Court denied Azubuko's request. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the single justice correctly denied the request for mandamus relief, as Azubuko had another remedy, namely, an appeal from the final judgment of the trial court dismissing his third-party complaint. View "Azubuko v. City of Boston" on Justia Law