Wellesley Hills Landlord-Tenant Lawyer, Massachusetts

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LEGAL TERMS

CLEANING FEE

A nonrefundable fee charged by a landlord when a tenant moves in. The fee covers the cost of cleaning the rented premises after you move out, even if you leave ... (more...)
A nonrefundable fee charged by a landlord when a tenant moves in. The fee covers the cost of cleaning the rented premises after you move out, even if you leave the place spotless. Cleaning fees are illegal in some states and specifically allowed in others, but most state laws are silent on the issue. Landlords in every state are allowed to use the security deposit to clean a unit that is truly dirty.

GOODS & CHATTELS

See personal property.

FORM INTERROGATORIES

Printed or 'canned' sets of questions that one party in a lawsuit asks an opposing party. Form interratories cover the issues commonly encountered in the kind o... (more...)
Printed or 'canned' sets of questions that one party in a lawsuit asks an opposing party. Form interratories cover the issues commonly encountered in the kind of lawsuit at hand. For example, lawyers' form books have sets of interrogatories designed for contract disputes, landlord-tenant cases and many others. Form interrogatories are often supplemented by questions written by the lawyers and designed for the particular issues in the case.

INDISPENSABLE PARTY

A person or entity (such as a corporation) that must be included in a lawsuit in order for the court to render a final judgment that will be just to everyone co... (more...)
A person or entity (such as a corporation) that must be included in a lawsuit in order for the court to render a final judgment that will be just to everyone concerned. For example, if a person sues his neighbors to force them to prune a tree that poses a danger to his house, he must name all owners of the neighboring property in the suit.

HEIR

One who receives property from someone who has died. While the traditional meaning includes only those who had a legal right to the deceased person's property, ... (more...)
One who receives property from someone who has died. While the traditional meaning includes only those who had a legal right to the deceased person's property, modern usage includes anyone who receives property from the estate of a deceased person.

BALLOON PAYMENT

A large final payment due at the end of a loan, typically a home or car loan, to pay off the amount your monthly payments didn't cover. Many states prohibit bal... (more...)
A large final payment due at the end of a loan, typically a home or car loan, to pay off the amount your monthly payments didn't cover. Many states prohibit balloon payments in loans for goods or services that are primarily for personal, family or household use, or require the lender to let you refinance the balloon payment before forcing collection.

SHORT SALE (OF HOUSE)

A sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. Many lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale ... (more...)
A sale of a house in which the proceeds fall short of what the owner still owes on the mortgage. Many lenders will agree to accept the proceeds of a short sale and forgive the rest of what is owed on the mortgage when the owner cannot make the mortgage payments. By accepting a short sale, the lender can avoid a lengthy and costly foreclosure, and the owner is able to pay off the loan for less than what he owes. See also deed in lieu (or foreclosure).

EASEMENT BY PRESCRIPTION

A right to use property, acquired by a long tradition of open and obvious use. For example, if hikers have been using a trail through your backyard for ten year... (more...)
A right to use property, acquired by a long tradition of open and obvious use. For example, if hikers have been using a trail through your backyard for ten years and you've never complained, they probably have an easement by prescription through your yard to the trail.

ARBITRATION

A non-court procedure for resolving disputes using one or more neutral third parties -- called the arbitrator or arbitration panel. Arbitration uses rules of ev... (more...)
A non-court procedure for resolving disputes using one or more neutral third parties -- called the arbitrator or arbitration panel. Arbitration uses rules of evidence and procedure that are less formal than those followed in trial courts, which usually leads to a faster, less-expensive resolution. There are many types of arbitration in common use: Binding arbitration is similar to a court proceeding in that the arbitrator has the power to impose a decision, although this is sometimes limited by agreement -- for example, in 'hi-lo arbitration' the parties may agree in advance to a maximum and minimum award. In non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator can recommend but not impose a decision. Many contracts -- including those imposed on customers by many financial and healthcare organizations -- require mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute. This may be reasonable when the arbitrator really is neutral, but is justifiably criticized when the large company that writes the contract is able to influence the choice of the arbitrator.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Carter v. Lynn Housing Authority

... The plaintiff was the holder of a Section 8 rent subsidy housing choice voucher administered by the LHA, and pursuant to a contract between the landlord and the LHA, payment of a rent subsidy was made on the plaintiff's behalf. ...

Scott v. Garfield

... Although the warranty itself arises from the residential leasing contract between landlord and tenant, we have imposed a legal duty on the landlord, in the form of an implied agreement, to ensure that the dwelling complies with the State building and sanitary codes throughout ...

NORFOLK & DEDHAM MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY v. Morrison

... One of the provisions (liability provision) provides that as between the tenant and the landlord, the tenant is responsible for all injuries arising out of the use, control, condition, or occupancy of the leased premises, except those resulting from the "sole" negligence of the landlord. ...