I rented a single-family house in MA. YANML, but I probably need one.
March 6, 2013 7:12 PM Subscribe
I rented a single-family house in MA with 2 roommates. We have 2 toddlers. This house isn't deleaded, and it needs to be, and landlady is very unhappy about the expense. We offered to vacate the lease, but my now crazy landlady wants to keep the security deposit I put down. Help?
posted by woodvine to law & government (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
(Stupid move #1) I signed a lease via email 2/28, on a single-family house in Somerville, MA, to begin tenancy March 1. I had seen the house about a month before and had noted some issues that the realtor assured me would be fixed.
We did a walk-through on 3/1, after signing the lease instead of before (stupid move #2), and after we made a list of the needed repairs to be added to the lease, I gave the realtor a certified check for a security deposit (stupid move #3). It was in an envelope, and I neglected to keep my copy (stupid move #4). [I tried to get the realtor to give me a receipt, but she refused. The lease says that I paid 1st month's rent; we have the landlady on a voicemail requesting through sobs to keep the security deposit, as well as an email from the landlady stating that she is willing to give me a receipt for the deposit.] My roommate did not have a check at the time of walk-through on 3/1, so we agreed to meet up to exchange the check for keys on 3/2.
My roommates (a couple) have a two-year-old daughter. I have a two-year-old son. On close inspection, the property clearly had not been deleaded. Roommate and I decide we want out of this lease. We request the check back. The landlady says, "No," which she is within her rights to do. She has the house lead inspected.
Last night, we received the results of the inspection. The house is FULL of lead paint and will cost a lot of money to fix. The landlady is now willing to let us out of the lease so that she doesn't have to have the place deleaded, but wants to keep my $2100 security deposit! Hell to the no.
Landlady has now cried on the phone with both my roommate and I, as well as into my roommate's voicemail. She is not emotionally stable or particularly reasonable (which is the main reason I wanted out of the lease in the first place. Stupid move #5, not meeting the landlady before signing the lease. Don't be like me).
So, I've sent her an email that basically says, "Here is the lead law. You can either a) vacate the lease and return my deposit or b) honor the lease and get the place deleaded ASAP."
Eeeek, it's awful to see all my stupid moves laid out like that. I really did not think this through. I figure that tomorrow I need to get a lawyer. Problem is, I really do not have lawyer money right now. What should I do? YANML, of course.
I certainly can't afford to let this woman keep my deposit, and if we honor this lease I will have a pissed-off, emotionally unstable landlady. So tips for dealing with that would be good also.
If your only answer is "lawyer," can you recommend one in the Boston area? Preferably one who won't charge me the entire contents of my bank account?