Resolving Housing Disputes

Resolving Housing Disputes


Tenants in Massachusetts have a number of rights that protect their ability to maintain possession of their apartment. Unfortunately, many tenants are unaware of their rights and agree to move out without ever asserting them.

Although your landlord may have served you with a Notice to Quit, or even summonsed you to court, you are not required to leave your apartment. Only a court order can do that.

You have a right to a trial in front of a judge and the right to present defenses such as: the landlord’s failure to fix conditions in your home, his acts of retaliation against you, or mishandling your security deposit. If the judge agrees with you that the landlord did, in fact, violate your rights, you may not only be able to remain in the apartment, but the landlord might actually owe you money.

Some important rights that tenants possess:

  • A landlord cannot evict a tenant without first sending him a notice to quit and then, weeks later, a summons to court, and then obtaining a court order.
  • A landlord must maintain an apartment in compliance with the State Sanitary Code, regardless of whether the tenant is current on his rent.
  • A landlord may not keep any part of your a deposit for normal use, or to cover his own ordinary business expenses, such as cleaning.


An Expert in Massachusetts Housing Law

A former legal services housing attorney, Mr. Heffernan is a seasoned litigator who can help you navigate the complex area of housing law. He has successfully helped countless tenants keep their apartments and has obtained significant monetary awards for a number of them.

His office is conveniently located in West Roxbury, MA.   You can arrange to meet with him any day of the week and the initial consultation is free. Call the Law Office of Kevin R. Heffernan today to learn more about your rights and options.


When the Blizzard of 2015 knocked out the heat and electricity in a house rented by a mother and her 4-year-old daughter, the landlord refused to pay for repairs to restore the furnace and electrical systems. The town’s Board of Health demanded that the landlord bring the property up to code. Instead, he served his tenants with an illegal 72-hour notice to vacate stating that the town had condemned the house.

After deposing the landlord and issuing subpoenas to the Board of Health, Attorney Heffernan was able to prove at trial that not only had the landlord lied to his tenant about the condemnation, but he had also deliberately misled the Board into believing that his tenant had voluntarily vacated in order to avoid criminal prosecution for not repairing his property.

The judge found in the tenant’s favor, holding the landlord liable for multiple claims, including emotional distress, negligence, and violation of the Consumer Protection Act. The court entered a six-figure judgment against the landlord, including the tenant’s attorney fees.


858 Washington Street, Suite 301
Dedham, MA 02026