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I need an emergency repair. Does my landlord have to make it during the state of emergency?

Produced by Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed June 2020

If you have an emergency problem like:

  • A bug infestation,
  • no heat,
  • no running water,
  • no hot water, or

problems with your

  • stove or oven,
  • electricity,
  • bathroom,

call your landlord right away. Your landlord must make sure your home meets the State Sanitary Code.

Because of COVID-19, some companies may not want to send their workers to do repairs.  But plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other professionals are still allowed to work as essential workers.  

Most town office buildings and courthouses are closed for the public to enter.  But they are still open for business.  They can still help you get your landlord to make repairs

You can still call your city or town’s Board of Health or Inspectional Services. They may come to your house, or they may ask you to send them pictures and describe the problem.  And they can order your landlord to make repairs.

The Housing Court is open for emergency cases:

  1. Use this Verified Complaint for Temporary Restraining Order to ask the court for help.  Email your local housing court or Call the clerk’s office to find out how to file your case.
    Or try the MassAccess interactive interview, MassAccess interactive forms icon Complaint for a Temporary Restraining Order, that lets you complete, review, sign and send your request for a Temporary Restraining Order to the court from your smart phone or computer.
  2. You should be able to talk to the judge over the telephone or in a video conference.
  3. If the judge decides you need it, they can order your landlord to make repairs.

To learn more, see Getting a landlord to make repairs

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