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Landlord Tenant dispute - Landlord ignored 30 day demand for security dep

I lived in a pool house which we found out was an illegal residency (on her property) after the town showed up (she lied and told them we were her dog walkers and were just playing with the dogs in the poolhouse) and it does not have heat in half of the house (no vents at all) would fail inspection!. After many years of searching and finding a legal home, we were finally able to move. We lived there for almost 10 years with a total of 4 different dogs throughout the years. No lease was signed, no walk through notice was given, and after a year when asked about our security dep she stated she spent it long ago. We asked again once we moved out for the interest from the deposit. She admitted she never put it into an acct. After we asked for the dep/interest we received a notice from Sm claims court that she is suing us for damage and to paint the walls, replace the carpet, stating we destroyed the place - a hole in the wall that was there when we moved in and were told to just hang something over it - now she is claiming we did that amongst other things but we fell strongly it is normal wear and tear for 10 years and the carpet and paint was not new when we moved in. She also stated that she realizes she did no up keep for 10 years! When I gave her a 6 week notice that we were moving she said ok just use the sec deposit for last months rent,. I stated dont you want to see the carpet - WIlson made a small hole when he was a pup her response was no I will just throw a throw rug over it no worries. She illegally entered the residence while we were moving out over a week's period of time. We had a friend clean the house and she texted us warning us the landlord was there throwing our belongings away even though we still had a day to move out!! We are missing alot of stuff!!! SHe was in the rental unit when I arrived to see why she was throwing my stuff away. At that time, she did not mention anything wrong with the rental unit and had been in there multiple times, She came to our new home more then on 3 occasions knocking on all of our doors including the back door, called leaving harrassing messages saying she could see us inside to answer the door, she would pull up in driveway and sit there, multiple calls and texts! (all as recourse for asking for the deposit and interest) I sent her the 93A demand letter protection for consumers asking for our dep and interest and treble damages if she did not respond etc. She wrote us back stating she would mail our letter to sm. claims court and we will deal with it in June at court. Isn't it illegal to not pay us after the 93A demand? Does she have recourse for wear and tear? and no proof we caused any extra damage - also her son and 3 friends were caught in the house as we were moving our stuff out. They or she might have caused damage. Since she filed the small claim first does that jeoperdize our request for our dep/interest. Should we counter sue her in court and include the missing items cost as well as treble damages? What recourse and rights do we have now?
Thanks!!! Jenni

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Submitted Mon, 05/15/2017 - 12:13

If you are being sued in small claims court, you need to smeek with a lawyer right away. Many of the violations that she comitted are serious and entitle you to money back from the landlord. You should move to file an official answer and counter-claim in small claims court. For security deposit violations you can get yoru attorneys fees back, so many lawyers, myself included, are often willing to take these cases on contingency.

Feel free to contract my office to go over all of her behavior and determine what violations you can recover for. You may have security deposit claims, breach of warranty of habitability claims, and a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment from what you said here. You may also have good defenses to her action for damages to the place.

Feel free to call my office at 617-859-8966 to set up a time to talk more, or e-mail me at

Atty. David Owens
Grolman LLP

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