Recently, Attorney Murphy settled an eviction case on behalf of a client/tenant residing in Westfield, MA. The landlord filed an eviction against Attorney Murphy’s client for non-payment of rent. The client, however, had been advised by Attorney Murphy not to pay rent until the landlord repaired bad conditions in the apartment. The bad conditions consisted of broken windows, broken door locks, water leakage in the ceiling, mold, and so on. After nearly one year, the landlord did not make repairs but believed Attorney Murphy’s client should pay rent, regardless.
Thereafter, Attorney Murphy appeared in Springfield Housing Court and filed an answer and several counterclaims against the landlord’s eviction action. Among the counterclaims were disability discrimination, harassment, failure to provide proper notice, failure to make repairs, breach of prior agreements, as well as 93A violations. Given the severity of these counterclaims, the landlord agreed to settle the case allowing Attorney Murphy’s client to retain thousands of dollars in rent. See Purdy v. Beaumier, Docket No.: 13H79 SP 000685.
Attorney Murphy notes rent withholding is valid only in certain situations, and tenants should consult an attorney before deciding not to pay rent.