I am writing today because I am horrified by something I read in the MassLandlords newsletter that was issued yesterday.
Apparently MassLandlords has filed in court and helped so many landlords that they are running out of landlords to help so now they are filing on behalf of….ahh…tenants. Not enough landlords’ cases to defend? Plenty of money to spend? I don’t know.
In the case of Slavin v Lewis MassLandlords filed a “friend of the court” in defense of the…Occupant/Tenant.
Both Slavin and Lewis were independently wealthy before they met. Slavin asked Lewis to move into his house. Slavin was the only owner by Deed. She (Lewis) moved in and they lived happily ever after as a couple for about eight and a half years until he had enough and tried to file a No Trespassing Order against her. There was drama, suits and countersuits. He was locked out of his own house for 8 months, we don’t know all of the details nor do we want to know. Suffice to say that the Superior court and then the Appeals Court ruled that he should not ask for a No Trespass Order because an owner is required to file for an Eviction to get rid of an Occupant or a Tenant whom they had approved to move in.
Ok, fine. So far it all makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense is what business does the Landlord Association of MA have in all of this? Why file on the side of anyone, let alone the tenant?
Their explanation seems to be that 1) because it’s unfair for occupants to be treated that way and 2) because an owner getting a no trespass against a tenant is a 93A violation.
First of all, these are arguments that should come from the Tenant Associations of MA not from the Landlord Association of MA!
Second, the owner did not kick out anybody by filing a no trespass order – a JUDGE did or did not do that after hearing all the evidence about it so if the occupant has a problem they should maybe talk to the judge?
So all of this is bad enough but on top of it MassLandlords makes the following extra argument:
On page 6 of the PDF Newsletter under “Permission to Reside = Legal Occupant”
they say “From a strictly legal standpoint, any individual who is given permission – by either the owner or a tenant – to occupy a residence is at that point not a trespasser, but an approved occupant.”
I am not a lawyer so if that’s the law please someone email me where it says that a tenant is tasked with approving or disapproving new occupants and other new tenants, checking their criminal backgrounds and credit reports. I own 45 apartments and have been doing this since 1998 but this law has somehow escaped me.
So a tenant can invite anyone without letting the landlord know and that person becomes a tenant and then that person can invite a guest too and they become a tenant and then that guest can invite other homeless people off the street and they also become tenants?
With friends like that, who needs enemies, MassLandlords?