Submitted by admin on Fri, 08/15/2008 - 14:50
I believe my landlord is charging me more than Massachusetts law allows for a security deposit. I want to go to housing court to get the deposit back. Can the landlord try to evict me as punishment for trying to recover the deposit? -- (Posted by J on the Forum Chat Room)
No. Massachusetts law regarding retaliatory evictions is fairly broad. Chapter 239, Section 2A of MA General Laws creates a defense to any eviction proceeding that is commenced in retaliation against a tenant who has taken some step or action to protect her rights. For example, a landlord cannot evict a tenant because the tenant filed a complaint at housing court for damages or to force the landlord to take some action (such as the return of an illegal deposit). Nor can a landlord evict a tenant because the tenant asked inspectional services to inspect the apartment for violations of the code. Additionally, the law creates a presumption that any eviction commenced within six months of the tenant engaging in some protected activity (such as the examples above) is retaliatory. That means the burden is on the landlord to prove that he would have evicted the tenant even if she had not complained about the condition of the apartment, for example.
For more information or to post a question, visit our Landlord and Tenant Law Discussion Forum.