Questions and issues raised on the Legal Hotline are answered here by our resident legal expert.
A. Ask the owner of the building to address this situation as soon as practicable. While you may have the listing, you have no legal right to enter the apartment for showings unless the lease agreement stipulates that as a condition of the tenancy they shall allow reasonable access for showings or, in the alternative, the tenant voluntarily agrees to give you access.
The law states that during the period of a residential tenancy the tenant enjoys the exclusive use and possession of the unit. Chapter 186 Section 15B of the Massachusetts General Laws explains as follows:
(1) (a) No lease relating to residential real property shall contain a provision that a lessor may, except to inspect the premises, to make repairs thereto or to show the same to a prospective tenant, purchaser, mortgagee or its agents, enter the premises before the termination date of such lease. A lessor may, however, enter such premises:
(i) in accordance with a court order;
(ii) if the premises appear to have been abandoned by the lessee; or
(iii) to inspect, within the last thirty days of the tenancy or after either party has given notice to the other of intention to terminate the tenancy, the premises for the purpose of determining the amount of damage, if any, to the premises which would be cause for deduction from any security deposit held by the lessor pursuant to this section.
Therefore, the landlord needs to review the lease, and if it states that the property may be shown during the tenancy, the tenant should be informed of the terms of the agreement and that failure to reasonably accommodate these showings will be viewed as a material breach of the lease. If, however, they do not have a written lease agreement with a provision to allow showings, then neither you nor the landlord have the right to enter the premises for showings if the tenant says “no”. This is why it is recommended that landlords always have a written lease agreement with a tenant even when they are a tenant-at-will.
Q: Does a consumer who signs an offer to buy a home have three days to change his mind even if a seller has accepted the offer?
A: No. M.G.L. c. 93, s. 48 allows a consumer three business days in which to cancel an agreement for the sale or lease of goods or services in excess of $25 that are used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes if the contract was signed at a place other than the seller or lessor’s office.
For example, if a door-todoor salesperson convinces a consumer to sign a contract to purchase a vacuum at the consumer’s dining room table, they would have three business days in which to rescind or cancel the contract. The reasoning behind the statute is that consumers are under higher pressure to sign a contract when at their home than in a business office where he is free to leave. However, this statute has not applied to real estate transactions since real estate is not a “good.”
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9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 800-370-5342.