Establishing That Your Landlord Had Knowledge of Illegal Conditions

Produced by Susan Hegel
Reviewed May 2017

Because your right to get repairs made is dependent upon your landlord's having knowledge of bad conditions, it is important to understand what constitutes knowledge. Under the law, your landlord has knowledge of bad conditions in the following situations:

  • If the problem existed before you moved into your apartment,15
  • If your landlord actually sees the problem,
  • If you tell or write your landlord about the problem (it is always best to notify your landlord in writing),
  • If the Board of Health notifies your landlord about a problem,16
  • If another tenant has notified the landlord about a problem that affects you, too, or
  • If the problem existed at the time a new landlord bought your building.17

Endnotes

15 . McKenna v. Begin, 5 Mass. App. Ct. 304 (1977); McKenna v. Begin, 3 Mass. App. Ct. 168, 173-174 (1975).

16 . G.L. c. 239, §8A.

17 . See endnote 16. See also Bank One National Association v. Colon, Hampden Housing Court, No. 00-SP-1309 (Fein, J., August 1, 2000) (landlord's liability for breach of warranty attaches when it purchased the premises); Young v. Jackson, Boston Housing Court, No. 40979 (Abrashkin, J., April 10, 1987)(liability for violations attaches at the time of transfer of ownership).

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