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This is the ninth post in our Know Your Rights in Housing series. Click here to view our previous posts.

Do you have issues in your apartment or problems with you landlord? Are you accepting these issues because you are afraid your landlord will evict you if you bring the issues to her attention? In Massachusetts, a landlord may not evict a tenant within six months of engaging in certain protected activity, unless the landlord can show that she would have taken the same action, in the same manner, and at the same time, even if the tenant had not engaged in the activity. If your landlord does evict you after you assert your legal rights, this is what is known as a retaliatory eviction. In addition, your landlord may not materially alter the terms of your tenancy after you take certain actions, which are listed below.

Your eviction may constitute a retaliatory eviction if you engaged in any of the following activities within six months of being evicted:

  • Reporting poor conditions in your apartment to the board of health

  • Reporting poor conditions in your apartment to your landlord

  • Organizing or joining a tenant's union

  • Commencing, proceeding with, or obtaining relief in a judicial or administrative action to enforce any laws/regulations that have the objective of regulating residential premises (i.e. you bring a claim against your landlord because you wrote to her two months ago that your front door lock does not work and she has failed to replace it)

If you have been evicted in retaliation, you may be entitled to strong damages, including three months rent plus court costs and attorney fees.