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Landlord & Tenant

Our attorneys have represented countless Landlords and Tenants in Housing Court. We also have extensive experience dealing with properties under receivership.

Landlord Tenant law in Massachusetts provides tenants with significant protections. Although it is possible to have an enforceable rental agreement that is not in writing, it is not recommended. It is in the best interest of landlords and tenants to have a written agreement that carefully spells out the rights, duties and obligations of each party.

Landlords and tenants may form their own agreements, but according to state law, there are certain rights and responsibilities that apply to each whether or not the term is included in the agreement. Sometimes provisions or entire agreements are deemed invalid under Massachusetts Landlord Tenant law.

Basic Landlord Obligations

  • Providing a clean and safe unit with working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Maintain heating, electrical and plumbing systems and keep them in good working order.
  • Maintain common areas in a rental complex including keeping them free from debris, rodents and insects.
  • Provide adequate lighting for parking areas, walkways and hallways.
  • Keep entrances and exits of rental complexes free from trash, snow and all obstacles.
  • Only enter the rental unit if there is an emergency or after 24-hour written notice to enter for other acceptable reasons.

Basic Tenant Obligations

  • Pay the rent on time.
  • Maintain the home or apartment in as good condition as it was found accounting for normal wear and tear.
  • Promptly report any problems that may result in damage to the premises in order to prevent the damage from worsening.
  • Giving advance notice of the plan to vacate the premises.
  • Leave the premises in the same condition in which it was found when the tenant moved in.
  • Return all keys on the date the premises are returned to the landlord.

This is just an overview of the basic obligations of landlord and tenant. There may be other clauses that each party wants to add to the rental agreement. There are some terms that will not be enforced even if agreed to if they are deemed to be against public policy.


Receivership happens when a property's condition has deteriorated to the point where the court finds it necessary to appoint a receiver to make the necessary repairs. Code enforcement agencies, such as a Board of Health or inspectional services, will typically identified these properties. The legal department for the municipality or the Attorney General's office will petition the local Housing Court for the appointment of a receiver. However, although rarely done, tenants may also petition the Housing Court for the appointment of a receiver. An appointed receiver will make the necessary repairs and place a lien against the property. The receiver makes the necessary repairs and forecloses on the lien. The receiver will then auction the property and use the proceeds to pay for the lien thereby ending the receivership. If your property is facing receivership, it is imperative to hire an attorney who has experience dealing with receivership. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing municipal petitioners, property owners and receivers in receivership cases.

Contact The Law Offices of Murphy & Murphy, P.C.

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, at the Law Offices of Murphy & Murphy, P.C., we know how to handle your issues and will work diligently to resolve your landlord/tenant dispute.

Call our Brockton, Massachusetts office today at  (774) 257-5732.