The City of Quincy provides limited assistance relative to Landlord/Tenant disputes. The laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with respect to Landlord/Tenant issues are quite extensive, and a partial list of landlord/tenant issues can be found by clicking here.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What types of tenancy are there? - There are two main types of tenancy - tenancy based on lease and tenancy at will. A lease stipulates that a tenancy will remain in place for a certain, agreed upon period of time. A tenancy at will is an agreement between landlord and tenant that lasts as long as the two parties agree to do business with each other. Either the landlord or the tenant can decide to end the tenancy at will by giving the other party notice - either 30 days or one month before the due date of the next rent payment.
2) What should I do when I move in to a new apartment? - We recommend that you document everything - receipts for any payments made, and photos or video footage of the current condition of the apartment. If you do not have this information, leaving your apartment and recuping your security deposit can become very difficult. Ask your landlord to accompany you on a walkthrough before you move in.
3) What payments can a landlord ask for at the start of a tenancy? - A landlord may ask only for the following payments up front - the first month's rent, a security deposit to cover damages beyond normal wear and tear, which may not exceed the amount of one month's rent, the last month's rent and the cost of a new lock and key for the apartment. The landlord must deposit the security deposit into an interest bearing account. If the landlord must keep all or part of the security deposit, the landlord must give the tenant a written description of the damage and an estimate of the repair cost within 30 days from the time the tenant moves out.
4) What can a tenant do if a landlord does not respond to a sanitary code condition? - A tenant may request that a code enforcement officer, or the local board of health, inspect the apartment. In Quincy, residents should contact 617-376-1272 to request an inspection. A landlord cannot take punitive action against a tenant for making an inquiry to the board of health.
5) How does the eviction process work? - The formal eviction process is called the summary process, and starts when the landlord files a complaint in court. If a tenant is evicted, a tenant's property left in the apartment must be placed in storage. The laws governing this process are complex, but generally provide that the tenant must pay for any moving/storage expense. After 6 months in which the property is unclaimed, the storage company may sell any goods left in the storage unit.
6) Are there any services that a landlord and tenant can use to mediate a dispute? - Yes there are. If the landlord and the tenant agree, they may utilize mediation services through the Attorney General's Office to resolve a dispute that may otherwise result in eviction. In addition, Quincy District Court can provide help in resolving a landlord/tenant dispute.
Please feel free to contact the Office of Constituent Services at 617-376-1500 or the Mayor's Office at 617-376-1990, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.