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Who Should You Take to Court

Produced by Gary Allen
Reviewed May 2017

When you file a complaint in court, you must be able to tell the court who the complaint is against. Most of the time, this will be easy. If the landlord has violated the law, you will want to file a complaint against the landlord.

However, sometimes the owner and the manager of your apartment are not the same, so it is not clear who the landlord actually is. If you have been dealing with a private management company and have never met the owner or do not know who the owner is, you can file a complaint against the management company. Although it is not absolutely necessary, if a management company is involved, it is best to file a complaint against both the management company and the owner1

Endnotes

1 . The state Sanitary Code defines an owner as "every person who alone or severally with others 1) has legal title to any dwelling, dwelling unit, mobile dwelling unit, or parcel of land, vacant or otherwise, including a mobile home park; or 2) has care, charge or control of any dwelling, dwelling unit, mobile dwelling unit, or parcel of land, vacant or otherwise, including a mobile home park, in any capacity including but not limited to agent, executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the estate of the holder of legal title; or 3) is a mortgagee in possession; or 4) is a agent, trustee or other person appointed by the courts; or (5) is an officer of trustee of the association of unit owners of a condominium. Each such person is bound to comply with the provisions of these minimum standards as if he were the owner." See 105 C.M.R. §410.020; see also LAS Collection Management v. Pagan, 447 Mass. 847 (2006), for a discussion of whether a property manager can bring a summary process action.

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