WARD & ASSOCIATES

COUNSEL TO REAL ESTATE MANAGERS AND LANDLORDS

Landlord - Tenant Disputes and Evictions

Over the past thirty-two years, our firm has represented residential and commercial landlords and a few tenants in countless evictions (also known as summary process actions) involving:

* tenants' Sanitary Code claims
* tenants' retaliation claims
* tenants' Consumer Protection claims
* tenants' defective premises claims
* tenants' housing discrimination claims
* tenants' lead paint and lead paint discrimination claims


We have brought evictions for numerous reasons, such as:

* evictions of former owners of foreclosed property
* evictions of former tenants of foreclosed property
* evictions for nonpayment of rent or for cause
* evictions of market-rate tenants for failure to pay rent increases
* evictions of subsidized tenants, and
* drug-related evictions


G. Emil Ward Literally Wrote the Book on Landlord and Tenant Law

G. Emil Ward literally wrote the book on Massachusetts landlord and tenant law: Massachusetts Landlord-Tenant Practice: Law and Forms , previously published by Lexis-Nexis. The book is a 600-page practice manual directed toward both lawyers and property managers widely used throughout Massachusetts by landlords' lawyers, tenants' lawyers, and judges.

Tough Legal Environment for Residential Landlords

The legal environment for residential landlords is tough. Contested evictions frequently take far longer than the month or so that you may have read about in some of the tenant-oriented materials circulating in Massachusetts. Evictions can be very technical, presenting time-consuming procedural traps for the unwary, unrepresented landlord. When you have a problem with a tenant, you should engage a specialist in the landlord-tenant field, not the divorce lawyer who may have done a good job with your divorce or car case because:

* The laws protecting residential tenants in Massachusetts are some of the strongest in the nation
* The safeguards for tenants' rights include Housing Courts, widely available and well-financed legal service agencies
* Fee-shifting statutes allow a prevailing residential tenant's attorneys to be paid by the losing landlord
* A lack of a mandatory rent-escrowing statute, such as many other states have, which lack creates an increased risk of losing the unpaid rent after recovering possession
* All of these factors act in concert to put the Massachusetts residential landlord at a distinct disadvantage compared to the Massachusetts residential tenant. Thus, it is that you should have a firm which concentrates in landlord and tenant law on your side.

Commercial Landlord and Tenant Issues

Although the law in the commercial context is shifting slowly toward the commercial tenant, commercial landlords still have the legal advantage in the commercial arena. Commercial tenants must be wary of the leases they sign and should have a thorough legal review of the lease before doing so. It is equally important for the commercial tenant or landlord to have experienced counsel in this area because in many ways it is just as intricate as the residential area.

Over the years, our firm has handled commercial lease negotiations and commercial landlord- tenant litigation.

We Have Extensive Experience in Landlord and Tenant Law

Our firm has represented a large number of landlords for three decades. These clients run the gamut from those who own a single-family rental property to large owners-managers who control thousands of units of rental property.

For a number of years we represented the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, now known as MassHousing, as lender's bankruptcy counsel and as their eviction counsel throughout much of Massachusetts. We also have experience in workouts which are designed to avoid foreclosure.

Some of our clients have been with the firm for over twenty-three years.

Our firm has conducted thousands of evictions in three decades of practice and we have a high rate of success.

We have spent much of that time in the Housing Courts as well as the district and superior courts.

Counselors to Landlords of All Sizes

As attorneys for large and small landlords, we have been called upon to advise our clients regarding day-to-day management issues such as standardizing application screening and review, eviction assessments and the handling of security deposits, standardizing effective complaint and repair systems, setting up reliable record keeping and evidence assembly procedures ( in the event a case must be brought or defended in court), and drug eviction procedures, to name a few. One of the most effective landlord defenses against tenants' claims is good record keeping. We have found that many landlords do not know how to properly keep reliable records.

We are known for representing clients in extremely difficult landlord-tenant cases. For example, we successfully represented two Boston area landlords and one southeast of Boston against the "Cat Lady," Heidi Erickson.

Our fees are sometimes flat fees depending on the volume and general type of evictions we undertake. However, Ward & Associates also works on an hourly rate depending on the client's needs and our assessment of the overall situation.

Please contact us to discuss any landlord-tenant problems you may have.

Put our experience to work for you without delay.

Let us put our in-depth experience to work
for you solving your legal problems:

Ward & Associates Attorneys at Law

21 Oak Square Avenue
Brighton, MA 02135
617-202-5200 (Office)
617-202-4417 (Fax)