Fall River, MA asked in Landlord - Tenant for Massachusetts

Q: I love in a 3 unit building. I live in the first floor. New tenant moved in above me and made life terrible with noise.

I have complained to management in person and in writing. To move, waiting list is two years for new unit. Neighbor bangs on the floor with a hammer i think. She stomps like an elephant. She plays music very loud. She throws foodstuff out her windows, landing on my window sills and attracting rodents and other vermin. A candle melted and spilled into my window silk and window panes. I have an approved emotional support animal, which she's threatened to harm. The police have been ca l led and they did nothing. I'm at a loss. She's violated her lease and management does nothing. Can I write a cease & desist letter to her? I doubt she'd reply to letter, could I then go to court seeking relief? A court order telling her to stop harassing me? What can I do legally? Help!

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1 Lawyer Answer
Zachary Alan Waksman
Zachary Alan Waksman
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: I am somewhat confused by what you are saying here. It sounds like you want to send a letter to the tenant. That is an option.

You have rights as a lessor in this building. The landlord is obligated, both by law and through your lease, to ensure that your right to quiet enjoyment of your apartment is undisturbed. You have informed the landlord of this tenant's behavior for a long time, yet it appears no action has been taken. Once the landlord is on notice, she must take steps to solve the problem and is liable for any reasonably foreseeable consequence of her failure to do so. This is true even if the issue is caused by a third party as is the case here.

Failure to remedy these violations exposes the landlord to significant liability of the greater of consequential damages from the violation or three months' rent, plus the costs of any action you bring, including attorneys fees. Additionally, your lease constitutes an act of commerce conducted by the landlord. This means the landlord's failure to deal with your issue may also violate the state's consumer protection statute, which may entitle you to up to three times any damages that are found to exist.

These proceedings often start with a letter to the landlord, followed by legal action if necessary. However, I cannot advise you further at this time as there is insufficient information. I strongly advise that you contact an attorney to assist you on how to proceed from here.

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